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21-October 2013

Is Google about to launch a smartwatch?

Rumours abound that watch codenamed 'Gem' will be announced within a month

Google fansite 9to5Google has created a mock-up of what Google's Gem watch could look like with a circular or square design, pictured.The watch is expected to run the Google-owned operating system, Android and will show notifications on its solid screen

Google is putting the finishing touches to a smartwatch that could be unveiled 'within weeks', according to industry insiders. The watch, believed to be codenamed Gem, could take advantage of the work Google has been doing on its Glass wearable computer. It could also use the same Google Now alerts for directions and text messages as the eyewear.

Push a button, ask a question, get a response as the watch talks to the Now-enabled smartphone. Also, the serendipitous information that Google Now shows you on your phone could come up in the watch. Time to get home, Calendar alarms, emails, SMSes, etc. all could get pushed to the watch's display. Juniper research says the market will be huge for wearables, and grow by about 14 times - to $19 billion - by 2018, and claims smartwatches will be the big winners, with 36 million in global shipments by 2018.

Google's Gem device could be launched to rival Samsung's Galaxy Gear, pictured, and Sony's SmartWatch 2. Google is already an established player in the wearable technology market thanks to its Google Glass device

In August it was revealed the firm bought a company called WIMM, which makes a watch that runs on Android, pictured

About a million will be shipped this year after both Sony and Samsung launched new watches. Apple is believed to also be preparing a watch, although it is not expected to reveal it until next year. However some experts believe it may be too early to launch a smartwatch. Tim Ryan of legal firm Davenport Lyons, said 'Given the potential market and the rapid advances in technology, it's likely that the early adopters will be disappointed at how quickly their new devices are replaced or become redundant.' He also believe app makers could be crippled by the small screens needed to fit the gadget on a wrist. 'Even though the technology is very impressive, and will get more so, there is still the issue of physical size and physical constraint, particularly with screen size,' he added.

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