New employees brought in to work directly with the Android team
The idea that Google will soon enter the connected smartwatch arena is getting more weight today as details emerge that it purchased smartwatch maker WIMM Labs last year. As a report from The Wall Street Journal earlier this year suggested, Google is actively working on a smartwatch competitor to the yet-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy Gear and the ever-rumored Apple iWatch. Talent and technology from WIMM Labs is expected to be a big part of the effort.
WIMM Labs, if you aren't familiar, was a small company working to make watch hardware and software centered around Android with its first product release, the WIMM One, in late 2011. Beyond just hardware and software, WIMM worked to build up a development program for third-party developers to make what it called "micro apps" that were more tailored to running on a small screen independently of a connected phone.
What WIMM did with watches is far beyond what we see with Pebble, which is a frankly basic notification system, and could give us a look at what Google intends to do in the space. It is reported that the employees from WIMM that stayed on with Google post-acquisition have been moved directly into the Android team rather than their own division.
There may be a lot of talk around the smartwatch — and greater wearable technology — space right now, but there are very few products that have actually been released at this point. We're not entirely sure what Google can do to shake up the space before it has a robust marketplace, but presumably a combination of general improvements in Android along with the new talent from companies like WIMM Labs can get it started on the right foot.