The probability that Google is working on a smartwatch in conjunction with LG is now fairly high. New leaks revealed its alleged specifications and the presumed timing of its announcement—which, as previously noted, is likely to be at the Google I/O developer conference late June in San Francisco.
Notorious gadget leaker @Evleaks tweeted today partial Google smartwatch specs. It will sport a 1.65-inch LDC display with 280×280 resolution, 512MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. Unknowns at the moment include the processor and battery size. Both the processor and the battery will be key to how the smartwatch performs, what capabilities it entails and how long it lasts.
By comparison, the actually announced Gear 2 smartwatch from Samsung will feature a 1.63-inch screen with 320×320 resolution, a 1 GHz dual-core processor and a 300 mAh battery that will purportedly last three days without a charge. Like the Google watch, the Gear 2 will have 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage.
Beyond The Specs
What really remains to be seen are the practical uses to which these tiny, wrist-bound computers can be put. Roughly speaking, the current wearables market consists of fitness devices on the one hand—er, wrist—and notification/communications devices on the other.
A few companies like Samsung are trying to bridge the gap, so far without much success. Emerging rumors from Apple suggest that it’s been meeting with the FDA, possibly about some type of health application for its iPhones and a wearable device.
Google has a couple of items up its sleeves to help define wearable computing on its terms. First, it has Android, recently reconfigured to fit on devices with limited memory and battery life with the 4.4 KitKat update. Second, Google has reportedly been working on a fitness application programming interface that will help people track and organize their daily activity; that interface could be spread throughout the Android app developer ecosystem for smartphone fitness apps and presumably smartwatches as well.
Sundar Pichai, the Google executive in charge of Android, Chrome and apps, recently said the company will release a wearables software developer kit within the next two weeks. Pichai said that Google is only “scratching the surface” of wearables at this point.
The implication is that Google will push Android for wearable devices in the same way that it has done so with smartphones, tablets and televisions (with varying degrees of success in each market). Google has all of the tools ready for a smartwatch. In the end it is just the specific hardware, features, apps and performance that will decide whether Google has a real future in the smartwatch Arm Race.