Google wants to make getting notifications a little less intrusive. The company has filed a patent for a wearable device that would alert the user to a notification by vibrating, displaying colors, and more.
The patent itself was filed on July 13, 2018, and describes a wearable device with a motor for vibration, different-colored LED lights, and even a heat emitter for some notifications. It also includes a Bluetooth chip to connect to a smartphone or other device. Based on the images, the device could be worn around the wrist, but the patent also goes into the fact that it could take the form of other jewelry or accessories, allowing the device to better blend in with the user’s fashion sense.
Notably absent from this proposed device is a display — meaning it’s not a kind of smartwatch. There are a few reasons you might want a device like this without a display. For starters, it might be cheaper than a smartwatch, allowing users to manage their notifications from their wrist without having to shell out the cash for a smartwatch. And, as mentioned, it might not be a wrist-worn device at all.
It’s important to note that this may not be a new idea for Google. The patent is related to previous versions that date back to 2013. Still, the fact that Google is still tweaking the patent suggests that it hasn’t forgotten about the idea, even with the slew of new smartwatches and other wearable devices on the market.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether anyone would actually buy a device like this simply for the purpose of getting notifications. Wearables are slowly taking off, but only smartwatches and fitness trackers have been widely adopted thus far. It’s possible that Google could build in other features, like fitness tracking, but at that point its more likely someone would buy it more for its fitness tracking capabilities than its notification displaying capabilities.
In general, the wearables market is a little new for Google. The company has developed wearable software before, but it has yet to introduce a first-party smartwatch despite rumors, and the likes of Google Glass never really took off among the general public. Google has, however, been rumored to be working on a fitness tracker to work in conjunction with the new Google Fit — though we have to wait and see if those rumors materialize into anything real.