The watch is said to be built by the company’s Android unit, which has the expertise to create both premium hardware and pair it with software specifically designed for the form factor. The smart watch is the most populist of what seems to be an emerging trend in wearable computing. Google will be releasing its Glass headpiece this year for a price that will top $1000; a smart watch could incorporate many of the same features for a fraction of the price.
The first true smart watch success of the year has undoubtedly been Pebble, which raised $10 million from Kickstarter in early 2012. The company has been iterating the product very quickly, releasing a new firmware today and a watchface SDK next month.
Whether Google — or any of these companies — will find success with a smart watch remains to be seen. Pebble is a great benchmark, but a mainstream audience may not be as forgiving as 70,000 early adopters. Google owns a patent for a smart watch with dual displays, granted in 2011; the space looks like it will be quite competitive in the coming months.