Pebble watch

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.

Source: GigaOM


Reader comments

Google working on smartwatch with talent acquired from WIMM Labs


I'm guessing this will use the Mirror API just like Google Glass.

Using a watch to display notifications and Google Now cards would be ideal. This would dramatically reduce the number of times you would look at your phone.

We shall see if they make it popular.

You could make the same argument about Google Glass in that way. I feel they are working toward very simple ways to get you what you need like what Google Now does.

If Google truly did have a hand in making the Moto X, I believe they are really taking a stab at useful notifications without turning your phone on.

I have the Moto X and the Active Display is a brilliant implementation of this sort of thing. I'd LOVE a watch that acted as a simple watch with just the Active Display and also be a watch.

Throw in Google Now cards and I'd never look at my phone. This would extend battery life in a huge way as well as keep people from constantly looking at their phone, just to see if they missed anything.

If they could make a watch do a few more things in a usable way like display a map of where you're going, you may have little reason to use your phone other than games, browsing and phone calls.

Hopefully it will be a stand alone device that you can upload music files to so you won't need to have your phone on you when doing physical activities like running or cycling, etc, but still can listen to music, and use other apps on the device when too far away from the connection to your phone.

I don't see the point of a smart watch if you have to remain tethered to your phone or tablet

I found a simple and basic for the same context.. just give it a try and it works great!

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I guess I don't see the point of a smart watch. Fewer people wear watches because it's easier to look at our phone for the time. Now all of a sudden it's too much trouble to look at our phone and we need a watch to tell us if we have an email or text???

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"it's easier to look at our phone for the time"

What? IMO it's easier to turn my head to my wrist than to take my phone out of my pocket and turn it on. Especially considering I don't always have my phone with me.

Doesn't the Moto X display the time when it is pulled out of a pocket? No turning on needed.

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1) There are some situations where you really shouldn't be looking at your phone; meetings, classes, etc. Most of the smartwatches right now pair w/ bluetooth, so you can get about 20-30 feet from your phone and it is still connected. For me, it's nice to be able to leave it plugged in at my desk, but still be notified of primarily texts and phone calls.

2) Some people like watches; for whatever reason.

3) It's shiny new tech; probably the best reason of all.

Think about it. Your in your car and the phone rings, is it important? Is it just a sales call? Look at your watch and know instantly, and silence it without even digging for your phone.

At work I move at a rapid pace and it would really streamline things if I didn't have to take my phone out every time it dings, bongs, rings, and jingles. Plus, added benefits like controlling music playback and whatnot.

Its a win win.

As soon as I heard of the idea I knew right away it would be a success.

In my car i glance at my docked max HD as it breaks from playing music and announces call from "insert name" answer or reply with text. blah blah blah 400$ watch ,bottom of junk draw in

The point is to not pull your phone out to check notifications and time. Just flip your wrist. If you find it easier to go into a pocket, pull out your phone and turn it on, all while you're driving then maybe a smartwatch is not for you.

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I really don't have a need for a smart watch but we will see what Google has in store. I don't even wear my Movado I have so a smart watch is probably out of the question.

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Childhood dream of talking into my watch and getting audible response about to be fulfilled. Knight Industries 2000 coming soon.

Omate SmartWatch 2.0 on kickstarter right now. It has integrated 2g/3g; so talking to your wrist is about 2 months away.

Soon I'll have my Google glass tell me I have a message on my Google watch that I have a text/email on my phone... Yay (sarcasm)

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The watch you would wear all the time. Glass would be a bit more involved and worn less, to begin with. At some point Glass will probably be used more than a watch. After it becomes more socially acceptable. The watch is a gateway to Glass.

Posted via Android Central App and my Nexus 4 or 7

I actually really like this idea. If Google can come up with a way to send messages from the smartwatch without having to get my phone out of my pocket, this will be a must buy for me.

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I'm pretty interested in this, despite the fact that I have no intention of ever buying a smart watch.

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I'm really thinking about getting one of these, but should I get the Galaxy Gear or wait for the New Google smart watch?

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Early rumours were the Galaxy Gear would work only with Galaxy smartphones. If I was to get a smart watch it certainly wouldn't be one that is compatible with one brand.

Galaxy S3
Transformer Prime
Nexus 7

I'm still looking for a waterproof smart HRM watch that can do BLE, Ant+ and be backwards compatible w/ the old analog HRM straps that have a few of because the watches all died :-P

I'd hope it's programmable so you can display more than the web pages on Google Glass...(haven't heard much of what the native GG SDK can do yet)

If it also contains a number of medical sensors such as heart rate, body temp etc, and is still reasonably slim and good looking I can see it making an impact.

This is great news. The more smartwatch manufacturers the lower the price. If course the Galaxy Gear will be perfect for my note 2.

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You know darn well it's going to happen an unsuspecting guy is going to get slapped by a girl he doesn't know who assumes the guy is taking her picture while he's wearing Google Glass.

WaterPROOF. (Not "resistant")

I'd buy it in a heart beat. I always wear a watch when coaching, teaching swim lessons, wrangling three sons <9yrs old, etc. It's way more practical to have a watch in those circumstances.

Grabbing a phone to check time is not always possible and never as convenient as glancing at my wrist, especially around/in a pool.