If you thought Google’s foray into wearable technology starts and ends with Glass, think again. Because it’s just been discovered that in the summer of 2012, the Mountain View, Calif. company made an acquisition that could help it develop a product to rival Apple’s anticipated iWatch.
The company Google bought was WIMM Labs: an early entrant into the smart watch arena, who in 2011 made an Android-powered smart watch, WIMM One, which didn’t do well. This product did, however, capture Google’s attention, and in the summer of last year, WIMM closed its doors, stopped sales, and announced that it had signed an “exclusive” partnership deal with an unknown company.
GigaOM has now revealed that this “unknown company” was, in fact, Google, and explains:
At Google, WIMM’s employees are working with the Android team, which may seem natural since WIMM’s platform was based on Android, but it is actually a pretty good indicator of the role this acquisition is playing for Google. The company chose not to turn its smartwatch efforts into a Google X moonshot project that may take years to see the light of day, but instead brought it to the division that is making the world’s most popular smartphone operating system. In other words: In the nascent world of smartwatches, Google means business.
As a reminder, Apple is said to have been working on its own wearable smart watch product, nicknamed “iWatch,” for some time, and recent analysis indicates that the Cupertino, Calif. company could launch the product as early as 2014. That being said, long-time Apple rival Samsung is rumored to be announcing its own 2.5-inch, OLED smart watch next week, suggesting that Apple could be behind the times before the iWatch even hits Apple Store shelves.
Let’s just hope Google, too, doesn’t beat the iWatch to the punch.
In the meantime, see: Kitty Cat High Five: UK Carrier 3 To Launch Less Expensive 4G LTE This Year, Cydia Tweak: Celeste 2 Launches For Jailbroken iDevices, and Hacker Claims To Have Untether Binary For iOS 6.1.3.