TAIPEI – Google's smartwatch is in late-stage development and the company is in talks with Asian suppliers to begin mass production of the device, people familiar with the matter said.
The new device, which will run on Android, will be integrated with Google Now, the company's intelligent personal assistant that can answer questions, make recommendations and predict what information users need based on what they are doing, a person familiar with the situation said. Google has also been working to reduce power consumption on the smartwatch so it won't require frequent battery charges, the person said.
The smartwatch will be able to communicate with other devices such as a smartphone, and draw information such as travel schedules from a user's email through Google Now, the person said. The device could be ready for mass production within months, the person said.
With its wristwatch, Google is aiming to address two criticisms of smartwatches that skeptics have long made: usefulness and battery life. While several smartwatches are on the market already, including one from Samsung, they have yet to gain a widespread following as they still have limited functions and a relatively high price. However, analysts say that with the development of improved applications, wearable devices will become increasingly mainstream and a growing battleground for tech industry heavyweights like Google and Apple. Annual sales of wearable devices are projected to reach 485 million units by 2018, according to market-research firm ABI Research.
For Google, the launch of a wristwatch would be an effort to secure a leading position in the growing wearable devices sector following its development of Google Glass. It would also be a play to keep users in its Android ecosystem and out of competing systems from Apple and Microsoft.
Read more about Google's smartwatch at The Wall Street Journal.