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Rumour: Google Planning Halloween Launch For Android-Based Smartwatch

Android KitKat 2
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Google may be planning to accompany the launch of Android 4.4, known as ‘KitKat’, with a Nexus smartwatch

Android 4.4, known as KitKat, is expected to debut on 31 October on the latest entrant into the growing smartwatch market – a Google-branded smartwatch called the Nexus, according to rumours.

Android Police blogger Artem Russakovskii posted to Google+ earlier this month that “Google will announce a Nexus watch, codenamed Gem, likely together with the KitKat announcement.”

Halloween launch?

The date that all this will happen, he’s been told, is 31 October. “None of this may end up being true,” he added, “though I have a good level of confidence in the sources.”

The watch may be the rumoured “Moto xWatch” that many expected Google to introduce alongside the Moto X smartphone, its first collaborative effort with Motorola. (Google purchased Motorola in August 2011 for $12.5 billion, or £7.9bn.) The pair introduced the Moto X – the first customisable smartphone, and the first to be fully made in the United States – on 1 August.

Samsung Galaxy Gear SideAndroid Authority reported in May that a Google smartwatch had moved well past conception and an early model, according to sources, had already been passed around at Google offices in Berlin; Manchester, England; and Mountain View, California.

Sources added, “Functionality will be very much like Glass”, and, “It’s not a standalone device yet. It needs to be tethered to a smartphone.”

Motorola is, of course, expected to make the Moto X companion.

“Motorola made a very good smartwatch once upon a time, with their MotoActiv watch a great offering,” Android Authority added. “It was solidly made, and among the best on the market. Wearable technology was, at the time, not popular or welcome. Glass proves that times have changed, and opinions softened.”

Device authentication

Just ahead of the Moto X launch, Android And Me founder Taylor Wimberly posted rumours to Google+ that included the Moto xWatch. The device, he said, would “definitely integrate in some interesting ways for device authentication”.

In June, the Wall Street Journal also reported that Google was working on a smartwatch, as well as a new Nexus Q media device and an “Android console”, as part of an effort to spread the Android “software’s domination beyond smartphones and tablets”.

Smartphone market leader Samsung introduced a smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, in September. While not well-reviewed – The New York Times’ David Pogue wrote, “Nobody will buy this watch, and nobody should” – the Gear fully pushed the form factor into the mainstream.

Apple is also said to be working on a smartwatch. The “iWatch”, as the media has dubbed it, will stand apart by being more of a household controller, or “multi-purpose gateway”, than an iPhone extension, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White told investors in a 10 October report. Consumers will use the watch to control their televisions, their thermostats, their stereos and their lighting, said White, who expects the iWatch to arrive during the fourth quarter of 2014.

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Originally published on eWeek.