If CES and MWC are anything to go by, wearable tech is the next big thing, and smartwatches are front of the line in terms of hot new trends. Samsung has one, Pebble has one, Apple's apparently working on one, and even Google is said to be developing a watch of its own. This Nexus watch from Google has been in the news since last year, and there's been plenty of rumors since then (even some renders, as evidenced by the picture above). We've rounded them all up in one tidy spot and will update as time goes on.
Unlike Samsung, Apple, or Pebble, one of the major questions with Google's rumored smartwatch is who's going to make the device. Google rarely makes its own hardware. In the past, it's contracted Samsung, Asus, HTC and LG to build its Nexus electronics (aside from the Nexus Q, but let's not go near that). The first question you have to ask when you consider a Nexus-branded smartwatch is who's going to be slapping their logo right next to Google's own? Recent reports suggest Google was going to go with a device from Motorola, and that this watch was codenamed Gem. However, February brought talk that the Gem had been scrapped in favor of a device from LG, which has made the last two Nexus Phones. It's important to remember that Google owned Motorola last year, so it could have had the team working on a watch. Now that Motorola is gone to Lenovo; it's possible Google preferred to go with its current preferred partner.
This is arguably one of the most important aspects of wearable tech. While a lot of it comes down to personal taste, no one is going to want to wear it if it looks like garbage. Period. Samsung has one bulkier offering, the Galaxy, Gear and one more sleek and polished smartwatch that comes in the form of the Gear Fit. Apple's also thought to be working on a curved wristwatch. If leaked images of the Gem are anything to go by, this Nexus smartwatch will look more like the Galaxy Gear and the Pebble smartwatch than the Galaxy Fit or any slap bracelet-style device Apple comes up with. But if we're to believe Google has made the switch from Motorola to LG, then what can we expect? That's hard to say, but if we look to the past, LG has already played the smartwatch game. What you see below is the GD910. It cost roughly a grand and was actually a wristwatch phone as opposed to just a companion device.
While this device isn't too dissimilar to the Galaxy Gear in terms of form factor, it's important to note that the GD910 was announced way back in 2007 and released in 2009, so LG may have a different idea of what passes for fashionable these days. Patents filed by Google feature illustrations of a watch with a round face, as opposed to a rectangular or square face.
According to our favorite leaker, @evleaks, the Google smartwatch will pack a yet to be determined processor as well as a 1.65-inch IPS LCD with a 280 × 280 resolution, 512 MB RAM, and 4 GB internal storage. No mention of whether or not it will have a camera (Apple's offering apparently will), and given the specs, it looks like this will definitely be a companion device as opposed to a standalone piece of consumer electronics. A patent filed by Google last year mentions a smartwatch with touch sensitive areas built into the band. These areas would be used to control the device as opposed to the small touch screen, where swiping and scrolling might feel cramped.
Of course, this being a Google product, you can expect it to be an Android device, though it likely won't run a full version of Android. Google's probably going to push Google Now pretty hard when it comes to the Nexus watch, which makes a lot of sense. Google Now is an integral part of the Google Glass experience, conveniently providing users with location- and time-specific information without forcing them to take out their phone and unlock the device. No doubt the idea behind the Google watch is the same. A quick glance at your wrist will tell you if your brother has answered your email or if you need to bring a coat when you leave for work. CNet cites a source that says Google will be developing an OS specifically for its smartwatch.
Last year, there was talk that the Google smartwatch would debut alongside KitKat. Obviously, that didn't happen. Now, rumors say we can expect to see the device at Google I/O in June. This comes via CNet's source as well as our old faithful, @evleaks. Google is apparently not going to show off a new version of Android at I/O this year. Could that be because it wants to focus on its watch? The developer conference kicks off on June 25 and runs for two days.
Stay on the Cutting Edge
Join the experts who read Tom's Hardware for the inside track on enthusiast PC tech news — and have for over 25 years. We'll send breaking news and in-depth reviews of CPUs, GPUs, AI, maker hardware and more straight to your inbox.