A patent for a Google fitness tracker has surfaced online, sparking speculation the company could be about to dive into wearables.
The filing, spotted by 91Mobiles, shows a very standard looking fitness band, with a heart rate monitor but no display.
It all feels a little old school, but also would draw natural comparisons to the latest Amazon Halo, which also dispenses with a screen.
Of course, Google is still trying to buy Fitbit in a $2.1bn deal that’s under scrutiny from the Justice Department.
So this could be the company thinking ahead about its first joint hardware, which looks like it would be a low-cost, entry level device.
Or Google could be hedging its bets – getting its IP in place in case the Fitbit deal gets blocked and has to forge ahead with its plans alone.
We also don’t know much about the listing, as we couldn’t independently verify the information.
From what’s been reported, this has been certified by the US Patent and Trademark Office, but that doesn’t mean that it’s anywhere close to release.
What’s more, we don’t know the date this was filed or created, or that it’s an active project by Google. Tech companies file thousands of patents (check out Apple's myriad of patents for the Apple Watch), the majority don't amount to anything. But they do offer a useful window for us observers to get an insight into the conversations taking place inside these development teams.
But what it does confirm – if everything actually pans out as it appears – is that Google is actively exploring wearables and designs.
With or without Fitbit.
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