VentureBeat has discovered a patent filed by Google in October 2011 that describes a new smartwatch design. One of the inventors listed in the patent is Richard Carl Gossweiler III, a research scientist who previously worked at Xerox PARC, HP Labs and IBM. At NASA, he developed display components for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. Now at Google, he has worked on search models, user experiences and collaborative applications.
Google's new smartwatch patent describes a wearable device featuring a touchpad mounted above and below the main display. These touchpads may be removable, and support Google Glass style tapping, pinching and stretching finger gestures so that users aren't tapping directly on the screen. The display design itself suggests that the size will be large enough to correctly display Google Glass Cards.
According to the patent, the smartwatch will consist of a wristband, a base, and two touchpads. The wristband will include a voltage line, a data line and a clock line. The base, coupled with the wristband, will include a housing, an SoC that will communicate with the data and clock lines, and a wireless transceiver for connecting to wireless networks. The battery will also be located in the base next to the SoC.
The patent, which was published on May 2, 2013, also suggests that the smartwatch can be put into sleep mode simply by taking it off the user's wrist. There's also an indication that a wired connection can be made to an auxiliary device (like a desktop PC) via parts of the clasp mechanism that could be used to form a plug or a miniUSB-style port. It's definitely not hard to imagine a miniUSB plug on one end and a miniUSB port on the other end, and the user securing the watch to his/her arm by snapping the plug into the port.
AllThingsD points out that the timing and inventors of this specific patent are the same as a previously awarded patent that describes a flip-top, round-faced smartwatch. These two patents were filed on the same day – October 26, 2011 – along with a batch of three patents submitted by a different Google team covering the wearable display design of Google Glass.
There's speculation that the watch could be offered as an alternative to Google Glass for those who do not wish to wear the tech on their face. It would be without a camera of course, but that should keep privacy advocates at bay. It wouldn’t be surprising if the watch features some of the same hardware and the same operating system used in Glass for multi-platform consistency.