When I was a kid all I really wanted from my wrist watch was to tell the time, date, temperature, speed of movement, elevation, relative humidity, and it had to be a fully working calculator while still fitting on my wrist and not costing more than I could afford.
Yeah I was a humble child.
But I wasn’t alone in my desire to have the kitchen sink on my wrist!
Clearly there were others who wanted more than just time from the device they carry everywhere.
In 2001 news of the Bluetooth functions in IBM’s Linux Watch was making headlines in the tech circles I frequented.
It was a beast but it ran Linux and X11 on your wrist plus it had Bluetooth communications so it could turn your lights off and on, start the coffee maker, even control your TV/Stereo!
This was back when Bluetooth wasn’t in every single phone, so the obvious connection between the watch and the phone wasn’t there at the time, and this was more of a standalone device vs. and accessory.
Today’s phones however, are very well equiped, and it’s actually unusual to see a phone without bluetooth support; So now the interaction between the watch and a paired phone is driving a new market.
When you think of ‘getting out your phone’ compared to ‘glancing at a watch’ the value of having your timepiece reflecting the status of your nearby phone suddenly ‘clicks’.
If Android is a lean/mean version of Linux developed for mobile devices, why aren’t we seeing it used in a watch?
IBM had this working 12 years ago!?
Enter the Google Watch
Google to the rescue! Well, almost, since it’s just a fresh patent vs. an actual product announcement…
If you visit the USPTO link above you’ll see a long list of patented products that are falling into the same classification, some of which are nearly as old as me! Yikes!
Indeed Google’s input is more along the lines of a sister(?) product to the Google Glass project which uses the same display techniques and has a lot of the same goals as this patent.
Speaking of displays, looking at the above image, you’d supposedly release the transparent top display marked as ’30’ (pushing on the latch marked 20?), which would then still keep working as the base display (item 16?) shows other information.
In one of the USPTO images the watch is shown doing some overlay images to apparently assist with price matching/product purchases. If it can break all the sticker prices down by actual price per unit values so they can be compared easily, that alone would make it a must have item for me.
You do NOT have to wait for Google to find the time to build and test this watch.
If you want an Android based watch right now, it’s not cheap, but they are already for sale from other companies.
Here’s the “I’m WATCH” (seriously, that’s the name!) from “i’m SpA” (?!):
It’s attractive, and functional, but it’s not very ‘Google’ and I do believe they found a man with the biggest fingers on the planet to demonstrate it:
[iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/34903242?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0″ width=”550″ height=”413″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen][/iframe] The headphone jack seems nuts for a bluetooth device, but it’s very fresh and clearly still a work in progress.
The watch is a device that has to be reliable, functional, and stylish, so it really could take someone like Google to ‘nail it’.