Is There a Gem of an LG...or Moto X...or Glass Smartwatch Hiding Up Google's Sleeve?
Supposedly Google (News - Alert) will be announcing the new Nexus 5 and Android KitKat (v4.4) before October comes to a close. These are very likely things that will in fact happen. Relatively new to the mix as of this morning are fresh rumors that Google may also decide to add its own smartwatch to the mix, and further the rumors say the device will be called the Gem.
Well that's original - interesting name Gem, as it manages to tie into gemology and jewelry and hence fashion as well. These are all important aspects of future smartwatch success. Of course a name is one thing and reality is quite another.
We have to take the opportunity here to step outside of the usual and think about what might in fact happen on the Google smartwatch front that might conceivably make things more real than not. Last week we took note that LG is working on a curved screen smartphone - as is Samsung (News - Alert). And of course there is always the possibility that LG has some smartwatch designs up its sleeve.
If we put two and two together, we may in fact possibly come up with the answer 3.5 (it would be four, but we're including the possibility of a rounding error) - that is, perhaps LG is working on a smartwatch and is doing so initially for Google. If Google is even remotely close to launching one, we surely hope that the design includes a curved screen! Who better than LG to deliver here? Especially given its Nexus connections?
From a design perspective there must be a high resolution curved screen associated with the design if it is to be able to hold true to a name such as Gem. Unlike Samsung's Gear, which is more or less bulky and big and ugly and weighed down by the usual Samsung gimmicks, or Sony's announced and relatively nice looking but as yet undelivered SmartWatch 2, which at least offers some design pizazz if not the curved screen, if Google delivers a Gem it must also deliver a fashion statement.
Since we're essentially making predictions based on very little evidence of anything real, our primary prediction rests with LG. We view the curved screen as simply too important as a differentiator and this drives our LG leanings. LG would stand to benefit nicely from such a scenario as well.
Sony SmartWatch 2
We suppose that at this point we should consider what sort of functionality a Google smartwatch is likely to bring to the game. We would do this, however we absolutely believe that functionality will be trumped entirely by design - so we're going to continue to veer in this direction (at least in this story).
Or Maybe a Highly Designable Moto X Gem
If we take the curved screen out of the equation we might also consider the highly customizable nature of the Moto X. Perhaps Google believes that it has enough of a fashion-centric statement to make by offering a smartwatch based on the Moto X build characteristics.
By this we mean the Moto X production capability to be customized by a buyer by way of a website (described in the article highlighted just above). We don't really know yet whether or not this capability has had any real, material and positive impact on Moto X sales. A similar ability for a potential buyer to customize a smartwatch in a similar manner may be enough to circumvent - at least in the short run - the need for a curved screen display.
In fact, perhaps it also opens the door to a potential buyer having the ability to match both the smartphone and smartwatch. We've noodled with the notion of both device manufacturers and carriers offering pre-matched and pre-paired smartphone and smartwatch "sets" (offered at a bit of a discount from the cost of buying each separately of course) - we believe it would be a huge holiday buying season win to do so. Think of it as the 21st century version of the old standby pen and pencil gift set. We think it would be huge!
Consider as well Moto X's several hands-free options. These are things that can also be incorporated into a Moto Gem.
Yes, we know, the current rumors have the Gem showing up as part of Google's Nexus brand (yet another reason to think LG). But perhaps it is a rumor cleverly designed for misdirection. In truth it makes far more sense to us that Motorola (News - Alert) would be behind a Google smartwatch. Motorola of course has already tried its hand at several pseudo-smartwatch designs that actually found their way into the market, albeit to no meaningful sales of any sort.
Or is it a Gem Made out of Real Glass?
While we are in the process of tossing as many things up on the wall as possible, it certainly makes sense to also acknowledge that a Google Gem may in fact end up being directly associated with Google Glass. Perhaps a Gem would provide a second screen for Glass as a backup. Google did recently publish a patent that suggests the possibility of a smartwatch that can read gestures similar to those a Glass user can currently execute on Glass.
Why not? In 2014, when Glass will allegedly finally ship, perhaps rather than the current curved titanium frame, Google will provide yet more Moto X-like (if not directly Moto X-related) customizations for different types of Glass frames. Why not then allow a user the triple play option of mixing and matching smartphone, smartwatch and Glass style components? Get all three at a sweet discount! We are in fact quite intrigued by the Moto X and Glass design possibilities - potentially complete with devices that are not only paired but would also be manipulated in part by gestures.
A Google smartwatch that fits right into this design realm would indeed be a Gem of a differentiated smartwatch.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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