It appears Google may not be satisfied with the prospects of consumers only wearing its Glass headsets and using its mobile wallet on Android-powered smartphones.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet search and software company appears headed into the same territory as Samsung and Apple by developing a smart watch for consumers.
Though it is far too early to determine if consumers would embrace smart watches with payments and other capabilities, Google may have an advantage if it sticks to cloud-based technology, instead of relying on Near Field Communication, says Maria Arminio, president of Avenue B Consulting, a Redondo Beach, Calif.-based payments management consulting firm.
Payments and other tasks are moving digitally, so a smart watch should follow more along the lines of current developments, Arminio says. I dont understand the companies trying to rewrite NFC, because its a technology that never really got off the ground.
As with any rumor about a potential smart watch, much speculation centers on how the device could potentially connect with smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as the possibilities of using it for payments, contactless transportation fares and other digital tickets.
Technology website Engadget reports that it has confirmed that smart watch maker WIMM Labs entered into a partnership with Google a year ago, which means it has likely been involved in developing a smart watch for Google.
It is likely no coincidence that WIMMs initial announcement of an undisclosed partner a year ago occurred at the same time the technology lab halted development of its Android-based WIMM One smart watch.
Some technology sites hinted as long as four months ago that a Google smart watch would soon be available in retail stores. It has not happened as of yet.
Google did not respond to inquiries about its potential smart watch development.
Nearly two years ago, Los Altos, Calif.-based WIMM revealed its computing platform for various wearables. As such, it is believed the technology provider could put its expertise into play with Google Glass, a mobile device headset that has been drawing attention in various industries, including payments.
In early uses, retailers testing the Google device are finding it can operate in place of a handheld QR code scanner and accept payments when a clerk wearing Glass looks at a consumer's smartphone to initiate a transaction.
Regardless of what Google eventually does with Glass, if it develops a smart watch soon, it will go up against the Samsung Galaxy Gear, which the South Korean electronics giant unveiled on Sept. 4.
In addition, rumors have swirled for months regarding Apples development of a smart watch, dubbed the "iWatch" by various technology bloggers.
Samsung reportedly will have an NFC chip in its Galaxy Gear smart watch for bump-to-share or bump-to-authorize capabilities with other NFC-enabled devices.
Early adopters will always try new technology, whether it is a headset, a smart watch or a mobile wallet, Arminio says.
I applaud the trial-and-error type of approach on these things because thats how we end up with better technology, Arminio adds. But they have to have a customer value proposition, an affordable price-point and something that lowers risk and strengthens security.
None of the rumored smart watch developers are breaking new ground. UK-based Watch2Pay has provided technology for consumers to make MasterCard PayPass contactless payments through a wristwatch for nearly two years.