Oct. 2, 2012 at 8:48 PM ET
A patent has been granted to Google for a watch with a transparent screen hidden in a flip-up bezel. Of course, Google isn't in the watch business — but the device could be an alternative form factor for their enigmatic "Google Glass" project.
The device pictured in the patent isn't entirely original in concept; there are smart watches already, and watches with flip-up bezels concealing buttons and other features have existed for years. But the Google watch would be different: the flip-up screen would not just show information, it could also be looked through like a lens.
Google's patent claims suggest that flipping up the bezel would activate a camera and "image retrieval system" that would attempt to supplement what you see with street names, stores, and other local data. Messages and alerts could also be shown, or you could use the clear screen as a viewfinder with which to frame a picture.
It's all theoretical at this point, and considering the state of the Google Glass project, a device like this is still quite a ways off. But acquiring a patent for it suggests that Google is not just planning a single Glass device (the headset seen over the last year), but possibly a larger range of wearable devices that would augment a user's smartphone.
— via Engadget
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBCNews Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.