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Google Handhelds Hardware

Google Reportedly Making a Smartwatch, Too 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the competing-for-wristspace dept.
judgecorp writes "With Samsung and (reportedly) Apple already making smartwatches, Google has now joined the party, according to a (paywalled) report in the Financial Times. The Google Watch is apparently being made by the Android group, and could have some synergy with Google's other wearable tech — the Glass spectacles. The distinctive thing in Google's patent seems to be having two displays — one for public data and a flip-up one for more private stuff."
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Google Reportedly Making a Smartwatch, Too

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:45AM (#43245813)

    Smartwatches are idiotic! Who would buy a smartwatch except some gullible Apple hipster?

    Smartwatches are idiotic! Who would buy a smartwatch except some gullible Apple hipster?

    Smartwatches are idiotic! Who would buy a smartwatch except some gullible Apple hipster?

    (An Android-based smartwatch comes out)

    ZOMG smartwatches are teh roXorz! (Buys and wears one)

    • by Cenan (1892902) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:59AM (#43245979)

      Fanbois are abundant in every camp. Smartwatches remains idiotic.

      • by cusco (717999)
        But Dick Tracy wore one!
      • by i kan reed (749298) on Friday March 22, 2013 @10:25AM (#43246261) Homepage Journal

        I'm trying to grok the distinction between a phone and a watch that makes a phone a legitimate tool and a watch idiotic. Obviously, if the weight or battery life is sufficiently poor, there's a real problem for a watch, but other than that, what's the difference?

        • You mean aside from screen size, right?

          I don't want to have to scroll ten times to read a three sentence email.

          • From what I've heard, screen size will be pretty comparable to average sized modern smart phones, just curved and flexible.

            • What you've heard? Vaporware != actual products.

              Have you tried placing a smart phone on your wrist? Even with curved glass/plastic/screens you'd have to roll your arm back & forth just to read this post.

              • As UI's go, smartphones suck pretty bad too. I just have a hard time imagining a watch being much worse.

                • by geekoid (135745)

                  I disagree. Modern Smartphone Is aren't really that bad at all. Of course, you need to keep it in context.

                • by nospam007 (722110) *

                  "As UI's go, smartphones suck pretty bad too. I just have a hard time imagining a watch being much worse."

                  It's better since you can use only 1 hand.

                  I guess it's time to patent that 'suck energy out of the arm' thingie.

              • by geekoid (135745)

                Vaporware != actual products.

                no shit Sherlock. let see what we currently hace, shall we.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqQnV5tlFAM [youtube.com]
                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJehexDPEsE [youtube.com]

                People re working on flexible screens right now, and prototyping them. Good thing for use we have engineers and thinker with imagination and drive, and not just a bunch of people like you.

                Do not equate smartphone with smart watch. Smart[x] means doing more then it original purpose.
                A smartwatch might just be as simple as tracking your hea

                • Did you even read what I wrote? Or you just had to be a jackass?

                  Of course smartphones != smartwatches. That was my point! The GP said something about reading email on a watch, which I said wasn't a good idea.

                  But maybe you forgot the ~ at the end of your post.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        define smartwatch.

        A watch the also monitors my heart beat? I'd wear that.monitors my daily exercise? hell I can thing of a dozen things I'd like to see in a smart watch.
        Link it to my phone, and a lot of possibilities open up.
        Like tell your watch to beep at a certain time. Literally telling it.

        I don't consider any of the idiotic.
        Hell, wear it on your right wrist, and it cold auto exchange info when you shake hands.

        You just lack the ability to think about something in any positive way.

        You will notice, at no t

        • by nospam007 (722110) *

          "Like tell your watch to beep at a certain time. Literally telling it."

          Talk to the hand, just what we need. I bet you are no public transport user.

    • by antek9 (305362)
      Is everyone forgetting that Sony has had Android powered smartwatches available for quite some time now? It's not exactly rocket science, and anyway, who on earth wants to do smart things on a 1" screen? ;) Wake me as soon as someone starts selling a wrist-holder for my Galaxy Note II, so that I can turn it into a Pipboy 3000...
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:46AM (#43245829)
    The idea of a smart watch when you already have a smart phone sounds to my old man ears like sneakers that blink lights when you walk. Maybe you have to be young to want blinky sneakers.
    • Or maybe you just want to see who is calling you and accept/reject calls or quickly read text messages without having to take your phone out of your pocket? Or get it off your desk or out of your jacket... I don't understand the fuss, old man... I've wanted and envisioned something like this since the first cell phone I owned in the 90's.
    • Re:Tyranny of Age (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alen (225700) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:54AM (#43245937)

      imagine the watch is a bike computer, the nike fuelband or fitbit thingy where it tracks how much you walk, your heart rate, pulse, maybe even add blood sugar

      its for people who like to go outside and breath fresh air and not the basement dwellers who are always rooting or ROMing their phones

      • its for people who like to go outside and breath fresh air and not the basement dwellers who are always rooting or ROMing their phones

        Really? Because you can bike and run just fine without any of those.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by alen (225700)

          if you bike say 20 miles on a good day you want to know exactly how far you went, how fast, how much calories, heart rate, etc

          • by Slyfox696 (2432554) on Friday March 22, 2013 @10:27AM (#43246291)

            if you bike say 20 miles on a good day you want to know exactly how far you went...

            My guess would be 20 miles.

          • if you bike say 20 miles on a good day you want to know exactly how far you went, how fast, how much calories, heart rate, etc

            I'm well aware of what a cycle computer does and I used to have one before it fell off, years ago. But you still don't need those things to have a good bike ride. A map and watch will tell you how far you went and how long it took.

            Not wanting sports tech gadgets does not imply that you are a basement dwelling nerd. In fact wanting tham makes you a pavement pounding nerd instead...

            I,

            • by Entropius (188861)

              OT: Can anyone read maps any more?

              I was riding DC's subway and came back up to the street level. It was heavily cloudy so I didn't know which way north was; I knew where I wanted to go, but not which way was which. A police officer was right there, so I asked him "Officer, which way's north? I just got off Metro and I'm disoriented."

              He didn't know. A bloody *cop* didn't know which way north was in his own city. I then asked him "In which direction am I more likely to get shot, this way *points*, or that way

              • by cusco (717999)
                I work with people who can design an entire security system based on a set of building plans, but who can't read a map to save their life. If the address isn't in their GPS they can't find it. Frelling amazing. Before I taught my nieces and nephew how to drive I first taught them to read a map and follow directions, since none of the three had any clue. I grew up hunting and fishing so map reading has always been second-nature to me.

                I don't like using a GPS, since even though it will get me to my des
          • by cusco (717999)
            Nah, I'd just want to know that I went from Point A to Point B, had a nice picnic lunch with my wife, and then rode back to Point A. IMONSHO, exercise is for having fun, not accumulating statistics.
          • by Entropius (188861)

            Not everyone -- actually, probably few people -- care about those things.

            I don't bike, but I hike; the idea is close enough. When I go hiking I don't really care how far I go or how fast or what my heart rate was. I care about "What a pretty sunset!" and "That's a nifty cactus" and listening to the owls after dark. Exercise isn't always a MMORPG character sheet.

      • Hmm, I already have the Nike+ app on my iPhone. Do I need anything else?

        • by necro81 (917438)
          It depends on how far you want to take your data collecting abilities. Using the smartphone accelerometer, you can measure running cadence pretty reliably (I don't think Nike+ does that, but other apps do). The next step up would be to incorporate a wireless heart rate monitor, which is a strap that goes around your chest that sends your heart rate (and potentially other information) using ANT+ wireless [thisisant.com]. Most smartphones don't have a built-in ANT+ receiver, although there are dongles and apps you can buy
          • Oh, wait, you just wanted to go for a run?

            Yep. Just open Nike+, set to my favorite playlist, put phone back in pocket and I'm good to go. Songs, mileage, pace, tracking, cumulative stats, etc.

    • Re:Tyranny of Age (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jovius (974690) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:59AM (#43245981)

      I don't really think so. Satellite devices like watches and glasses are the next layer of abstraction for smart phones, which have become so big and powerful. Basically you could just carry the cpu or a connectivity component (cpu power can too be shared), and wear yourself with various screens and other paraphernalia to make the device whole. The ubiquitous computing is steadily moving forward.

    • by Annirak (181684)

      Watches have some kind of an allure, much like fountain pens. Just take a look at the Tread 1 [devonworks.com]. It's a beautiful watch and I want one, but I can't have one because it's $20,000. Some people like Rolex's too. Personally, I don't get that one, but that's fine.

      If you have a smartphone, you surely must have had at least on occasion where it alerts, but it's awkward to get at it. You'll fish it out if it's important, but you'd like to know if it's important before you do that. For me, this has happened in a

    • by Beorytis (1014777)

      The idea of a smart watch when you already have a smart phone...

      When I read the summary, my first thought was, "can I get one of these instead of a smartphone?"

  • by AdamStarks (2634757) on Friday March 22, 2013 @09:54AM (#43245933)

    Microsoft Reportedly Making a Smartwatch, Too, Kinda, Okay-So-It's-Really-Just-A-Surface-Pro-Ducktaped-To-Ballmer's-Forearm

    • Forehead would be a much funnier visual.

    • by robogun (466062)

      They actually had one back in 2003, and Suunto and Fossil sold them, but nobody would buy them because they did not have the apple logo. MS recently pulled the plug on the server.

  • the purpose of google glass is obviously creepshots and/or the virtual naked filter. how does wrist-mounting help? maybe the pulse sensor at your wrist can trigger image/video capturs whenever your pulse is elevated? what could ever go wrong with that!?!

    pulse and galvanic skin response-driven advertising, where have you been all my internet!

  • by MMC Monster (602931) on Friday March 22, 2013 @10:08AM (#43246085)

    How about using Google Glass and machine vision to overlay the time on your wrist?

    • I see Glass and GWatch (Glastic?) as being complimentary products. Glass is the HUD, Glastic the touch input interface. That way, I can play Angry Birds Star Wars during meetings without having my screen displaying the game or flailing my arms around like an idiot :-)
  • by v1 (525388) on Friday March 22, 2013 @10:11AM (#43246127) Homepage Journal

    "Look, someone's making a touchscreen phone, quick, lets make one too!"

    "Look, someone's making a touch tablet, quick, lets make one too!"

    "Look, someone's making a smart watch, quick, lets make one too!"

    OK this is getting sickening, you can stop now.

    • by Dragonslicer (991472) on Friday March 22, 2013 @11:08AM (#43246791)
      If Apple "announces" a new product coming out in three months, and the following week Samsung and Google announce that they have a competing product coming out in three months, do people really believe that they are all just trying to copy Apple? Product development just doesn't happen that quickly.
      • by cusco (717999)
        Unfortunately, yes, people do believe that. In marketing perception is far more important than reality, and Apple has some of the best marketing around. If Apple announces today that they'll have a product in six months, and next week six other companies release real hardware to retailers the perception will be that they're following Apple's lead.
      • Exactly. Besides, Motorola has shipped their smartwatch for a over a year, and Google owns Motorola now.

      • by Uberbah (647458)

        In the same week?

        Sounds like the time in Vegas where I won jackpots on three separate slot machines in one day, and was begging Tony and Guido to believe it was just a craaaazy coincidence and to not break my kneecaps....

  • ...and I'm not interested in buying another one. In fact, I like the fact that I no longer have to wear a watch. My cell phone has become my watch.

    My initial thought is that smart watches are being developed to appeal to the fitness industry. The aim is to replace the "feature" watches which record your steps, heart rate, etc. much like smart phones have replaced feature phones.

    Now, if they came out with a smart roman arm guard.... After all, it would have enough space for a virtual keyboard.... (grin)

    • Now, if they came out with a smart roman arm guard.... After all, it would have enough space for a virtual keyboard.... (grin)

      That was my reaction to someone else who posted that Apple's watch would have the same screen size as a smartphone. "Um, that isn't a watch, it's a bracer."

  • Oh, Nigel Tufnel, you were so right about that thin line.

    I think most people's reaction today is that they don't want a wearable computer, because if capabilities were equal, then pocketable computers are simply be more pleasant to use. They get out of your way when they're unwanted, and they don't leave you with a sweaty body part at the end of the day. And capabilities aren't equal; the pocketable computers will be bigger and therefore more capable.

    I feel like I agree with that: the idea of putting a wa

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      The fashion also used to be to dress baby boys in pink and baby girls in blue. Pink was considered too harsh a color for girls. So I think we can all agree you cannot predict what the masses will want next.
      • by dj245 (732906)

        The fashion also used to be to dress baby boys in pink and baby girls in blue. Pink was considered too harsh a color for girls. So I think we can all agree you cannot predict what the masses will want next.

        It's not pink, it's salmon.

    • Twenty years ago, though, it sure seemed ok to me. And I'd like to remind people, that a hundred years ago, the norm for watches [wikipedia.org] was that they went into pockets, and from there we shifted to wearables. This really happened. This happened, upon a medium of civilization full of people just like you. How/why? Unless you can explain why the fashion changed from pocket to wrist back then, then I'm not sure I can accept arguments for how it can't change again.

      All that said, just like everyone else, I don't think I want one. My point is that it's hard to predict whether or not the prevailing opinion will persist.

      The Wikipedia article that you referenced actually has a good explanation for the change from pocket watches to wrist watches. Women wore wrist watches as jewelry, because they didn't have pockets. Men didn't wear them until WWII when: "During the war, soldiers needed access to their watches while their hands were full. ". Wrist watches made telling the time easier while working in a labor or manufacturing based job where your hands were full.

      Now, most people, in first world nations at least, no longer

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I still want a wearable computer, because it's harder to drop. But it also has to be the stuff of science fiction, because it somehow has to also be as convenient to use as a smartphone is now, and also nigh-indestructible.

      • by femtobyte (710429)

        Maybe the smartphone-equivalent of the watch chain will come back into style to fix the dropping issue. I'm sure manufacturers would love a chance to sell another high-profit-margin fashion accessory to go with every phone.

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday March 22, 2013 @11:00AM (#43246725) Homepage Journal

    I can think of lots of applications for a device attached to your body, and telling time is far down on that list.

    (Since I work mostly within view of computers I haven't worn a watch in my professional life ever. Nowadays with smartphones, the need is even less.)

    Can bone conduction work with a watch-like device? You could hear your phone ring without disturbing anyone else, and if you could identify the ringtone you could tell how important the call is.

    Would body measurements be useful? Heartbeat, temperature and blood oxygenation seem obvious. Would it help your doctor rule out certain diseases to know the characteristics of the fever - spiky/continuous, low/high level, exact date of onset?

    Could the device make fitness measurements? Tell how much exercise you're getting per week, let you know when to get out more and which type of exercise best meets your goals?

    If there's an embedded accelerometer, can the instrument detect tossing/turning at night? With the blood oxygenation, could it detect sleep apnea? Snoring? Other sleep disorders?

    Could the device detect dust levels in the manner of a [non-radioactive] smoke detector? Would this be useful for people to monitor their allergies?

    I once worked with a scientist at Berman Gund laboratories (Boston) who was amazed [at the time] that you could put a microprocessor on a lanyard connected to a light sensor mounted on the patient's eyeglasses. He wanted to see if the progression of Retinitis Pigmentosa correlated with the amount of light entering the patient's eyes.

    Light sensors [google.com] are now cheap and tiny.

    Does the amount of light in a user's environment correlate with depression? With SAD? Does fluorescent light correlate with depression? Does brightness matter or total daily duration?

    Will it have a GPS receiver? Could it display an arrow and distance information?

    Lots of applications here. Telling time is almost an afterthought.

  • Make me a sandwich, too.

  • My problem with wearing *any* type of watch is durability. Will it's screen get scratched? Will the pins that secures the wriststraps break? I've lost watches (cheap Casios, thankfully) because of this. When cellphones (that had the time) became affordable was when I stopped needing to wear a watch. So unless these have some killer app like a 24/7 blood pressure monitor, they'll just be "Look what I can afford" fashion statements.
    • They would very likely use sapphire glass to make it scratch resistant, like any other (decent) watch.
      • They would very likely use sapphire glass to make it scratch resistant, like any other (decent) watch.

        Like any new technology, they're going to be too expensive for the first couple of years, can't justify buying one until then.

        Right now SapphireGlass on an iPhone screen would cost $30 compared to $3 for GorillaGlass, though cost will go down this year. I'd still want/need an applied screen protector for it, I have a feeling that sapphire glass would still get 'glazy' from use time, and GorillaGlass isn't all that it's cracked up to be (no pun intended), scratches develop from pocket lint, and it does cra

        • I think you don't realize that watches have had sapphire glasses for decades. A sapphire glass may cost 30 bucks for a 5" screen, but it is probably much cheaper for a watch-sized screen.

          And I can assure you that sapphire will stay perfect for a long time. The Tissot watch I am currently wearing is more than 5 years old and the glass is still _perfect_. The metal case however is quite badly scratched.
  • by jfinke (68409) on Friday March 22, 2013 @12:18PM (#43247523) Homepage
    Google already owns a smart watch. It is called the Motorola MotoActv. It is a smart GPS watch running android and can interface with some android phones. It has Wifi, BT, ANT+, FM, with GPS, Touchscreen, music player, etc. I believe that someone has jailbroken it already. Unfortunately, Moto was slipping on their support and since Google has bought them it has just gotten worse.
  • Google is already falling into the copy over innovating mode that Microsoft is in. This, the Evernote rip-off and even android went from blackberry rip-off to iPhone rip-off.
  • As in smart sandwich ... that's what my brain told the rest of me that word meant in the first few fractions of a second. And frankly, I couldn't care less about a smart watch ... but am now obsessing over the idea of a smart sandwich. "What you want, when you don't even know you want it! SMARTWICH!"

  • Since 2003, i am using a Casio Edifice EFA-114D watch, for the following reasons:

    -Dual analog/digital display
    -Stop watch
    -Timer
    -Light
    -5 alarms and snooze
    -World clock
    -Metal bezel (i tend to melt or break resin because of the weather here)
    -Great battery life (about 5 years)
    -Small round display (i have a slim wrist)

    I have been looking for 2 years for a replacement that does all of the above and more, and haven't find any. The other casio watches that have some other features i actually want (atomic time, barome

  • The only reason why Apple is making iWatch is because Google came out with Glass. Now Google is making a watch too, which means Apple will follow up with some socially connected set of support underwear.

    Seems like 2013 is all about companies out dumbing themselves creating something nobody wants.

  • The fact everyone else is racing to come out with one it feels like a repeat of the iPad launch.

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