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Google smartwatch plans surface in patent application

Google smartwatch patent includes touchpads on the interchangable wristband. What could Google have in store for us after Glass?
May 2, 2013
How smart can this wristwatch be?
How smart can this wristwatch be?

We asked before why everyone was making a smartwatch, and whether you even want a smartwatch in the first place. Well, analysts say 1.2 million smartwatches will be sold this year, and this technology probably plays well with other wearable tech that has been in fashion lately, such as Google Glass.

Google smartwatch

Google, for one, reportedly has a smartwatch in store for us, and while imaginations were previously fan-sourced, this time we have some actual ideas from Google through a patent filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The “Smart-watch with user interface features” patent application involves a smartwatch with user-interface components on the face and even on the wristband itself, through touchpads on either side of the bezel. Let’s de-construct the smartwatch concept, based on the description:

  • The wristband includes a voltage line, which means the band itself may be used as part of the user-interface, possibly accepting gesture or touch controls.
  • In fact, the wristband will have touchpads on either side of the bezel, which enables controls outside of the limited face of the smartwatch.
  • The may or may not support touch input.
  • The wristband will be removable, which means users can interchange (colors or materials, perhaps), which means the touchpad is a modular component that can be removed and changed.

From the wording in the patent claims, Google is not yet defining whether the smartwatch will contain its own standalone operating system, or whether it is designed to work in conjunction with a smartphone. Either way, the smartwatch design will support a wireless transceiver, which can either interface with a smartphone or a wireless access point.

The ambiguous wording is actually encouraging, if you can expect the smartwatch to work not only with a smartphone or tablet, but also with other wearable devices, such as Google Glass.

As a point of disclaimer, this is, of course, still a patent application. As such, we cannot guarantee whether it will a device that will come to production soon. But knowing how Google can be innovative with experimenting with wearable technology, this concept is probably not to far off into the future. Apple, Sony, LG and even Samsung are reportedly working on smartwatch designs. Is this the next trend in wearable tech, alongside Google Glass?

Image credit: Wristwatch / Shutterstock