Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) quietly acquired smart watch maker WIMM Labs, a year ago, in an apparent move that gives the search engine giant a head start in its own efforts to come up with a wrist-band product.
A spokesperson for Google, on Friday, confirmed that the company acquired WIMM Labs last summer for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition was first reported by GigaOm.
Los Altos, Calif.-based WIMM Labs, which first developed an Android-based application platform for wearable products, brought out its own smart watch named WMM One in 2011. WIMM One included a full-color touch screen, Internet access, and the device could track the owner’s motions.
In summer 2012, WIMM Labs had suddenly disappeared and had stopped the sale all its products and put a vague message in its website saying:
“During the summer of 2012, WIMM Labs entered into an exclusive, confidential relationship for our technology and ceased sales of the Developer Preview Kit… We'd like to thank all of our developers for their interest and willingness to experiment with our platform and look forward to exciting advances in the wearable market.”
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The rumors had spread at the time that Apple Inc. had bought WIMM Labs to bolster its iWatch plans.
The news of Google’s acquisition of WIMM comes at a time when Samsung Electronics (KRX:005930) is set to launch its wearable computing device called Galaxy Gear on Sept. 4. According to media reports, Samsung Galaxy Gear will be released in four colors -- white, orange, gray and black – have key functions of a smart phone including a camera, speakers and storage options. Its rival Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also rumored to come up with a smart watch soon.
According to Gigaom report, the takeover is expected to benefit Google in developing not only smart watches but also other wearable products and related applications, as WIMM has its own Android-based developer program that lets third-party developers to create apps with standalone functionality to mobile phones.
Although Google has never officially announced its smart watch project, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that the company is developing its own Android-based wristwatch computing device. Google's planned watch is expected to connect to a person's smart phone via Bluetooth technology, the Journal said citing people familiar with the matter.
According to a CNET report, Google could come up with a smart watch, even before it launches its much hyped wearable product Google Glass, as the work on the project is centered in its Android unit and not at its X Lab, which is working on the Google Glass.