Google smartwatch expected following WIMM Labs acquisition

Summary:UPDATED: The wearables war is officially on.

With the explorer version of Google Glass well out the door, the Internet giant is all but certainly moving on to a smartwatch.

GigaOM reported on a somewhat sleepy Friday afternoon that the Android maker has acquired WIMM Labs, a somewhat smaller maker of wearable technology -- notably tech-heavy wristwatches.

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Google Maps, Offers and the big wearable technology picture

Google Maps is getting a coupons and deals infusion in a move that will become increasingly handy as wearable technology accelerates.

Financial terms of the deal have not been revealed, but the purchase does offer a big hint as to what Google wants to do in the burgeoning wearables market.

The sector itself is still quite small.

At $1,500 a pop, Google Glass is still just a developer-friendly device with limited functionality. There are more products available in the fitness scene, from Whistle (think FitBit for dogs) to the Nike FuelBand for their two-legged owners.

As far as watches go, Pebble is still rather alone at the top (if there is a top in this vertical yet), and WIMM Labs has been working on smartwatches (at least for developers) for awhile now.

But that could all change quickly.

During a Q&A earlier this week with some members of the San Francisco tech press, Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor admitted that it's hard to predict just how big the wearable tech market will end up being based on varying analyst reports.

But he still argued that most analysts believe the sector will grow by a factor of 10 over the next five years.

For computerized glasses alone, market research firm IHS iSuppli forecasted back in April that there will be approximately 9.4 million units of these fancy spectacles shipping between 2012 to 2016.

There have been rumors for months that Apple and Samsung (among others) have top-secret smartwatches in the works, but nothing concrete has emerged just yet.

Perhaps with the WIMM Labs acquisition, Google could beat everyone to the punch with something made now in-house.

Note: We pinged Google PR for confirmation and will update this post once we hear back.

UPDATE: A Google spokesperson confirmed the WIMM Labs acquisition.

Topics: Mobility, Google, Hardware, Smartphones, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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