A purported early prototype of a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) smartwatch has leaked online, revealing a Nexus product under development by Motorola Mobility in 2013 that was codenamed Gem. Tech blog AndroidPolice has published photos that look like they truly offer a glimpse of what might have been.
The device was officially called the “Google Watch” and was likely scrapped in favor of a model being developed by LG Electronics – makers of the Nexus 5 and its predecessor. The rest of the photos, available here, show that Motorola's smartwatch charged through a small USB connector that flipped out from its wrist band and offered a capacitive back button as well as physical buttons on its sides.
The purported Nexus smartwatch prototype looks similar to Motorola's MotoActv, including its black plastic construction and back button placement. The fitness-focused device ran on Android and was discontinued last year by the company.
Motorola said on Monday that it was still working on a smartwatch to be released "later this year" that would "address consumer issues like style & battery life."
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According to the latter, Google will announce an entirely new OS open to all original equipment manufacturers, or OEM, in a manner similar to how it oversees development of Android for mobile devices. CNET also reports that the device will be unveiled in June at the company's I/O conference for software developers.
The smartwatch will incorporate Google Now, the company’s intelligent personal assistant used to make recommendations and offer notifications about weather, sports, headlines and travel plans. The Google Watch could also incorporate voice functions like those found on the Moto X and Glass eyewear, where the device is always listening for the command “OK, Google.”
Google is reportedly developing a new operating system for the watch, which many had expected to run the company’s Android mobile OS. The Wall Street Journal reported last October that the smartwatch was in “late-stage development” and would “run on Android.” However, Google may have changed those plans as time passed.
A new smartwatch OS from Google would likely be scaled down to maximize performance and battery life, since the device with hardware limited by its size. Google has repeatedly denied comment on unreleased and upcoming products and services.
Follow Reporter Thomas Halleck on Twitter @tommylikey