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Google reportedly set to battle Samsung on smartwatch front after WIMM purchase

There might be another smartwatch on the horizon. Google has acquired wearable tech firm WIMM Labs, according to GigaOm.

"WIMM Labs not only gives Google the talent and technology to build a smartwatch, but actually an Android-based app platform tailored for consumers' wrists," the blog said.

The WIMM Labs website is currently offline, a move that apparently happened last year. For a time, displayed a message that said it had "entered into an exclusive, confidential relationship for our technology," GigaOm said, but now it just returns a server error.

WIMM Labs debuted in 2011 and looked to take advantage of the emerging field of wearable tech. As PC World found at the time, WIMM Labs had built an Android-based platform optimised for a small screen, as well as a small, modular hardware component with a 1.4in screen.

WIMM suggested users could use it to read emails, check the weather, or even use your watch to pay for your Starbucks coffee.

WIMM CEO Dave Mooring is a former Intel executive, and he likened WIMM's approach to Intel Inside, where it was clear who supplied the technology but the product itself was made by a separate party.

That separate party might now be Google. Reports of a Google-back smartwatch got started in March, when The Financial Times reported that the Android team was developing the wearable device. Citing a source "briefed on the project," the paper said the smartwatch would act as a kind of peripheral device for smartphones.

Google made no mention of a smartwatch at its I/O developer conference, however, and has thus far focused most of its wearable computing efforts on Google Glass.

Smartwatches have been in the news a lot lately, with Sony unveiling its next-gen gadget in June, and Samsung set to reveal its own smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, at the IFA trade show in Berlin this week.

Many eyes are also on Apple amidst reports that an iWatch is in the works, while Microsoft is apparently taking a crack at wearable tech too.

Image credit: Flickr (CEMAS)