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Alphabet’s health division made a better smartwatch than Google could

Alphabet’s health division made a better smartwatch than Google could


But you can’t buy it

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Alphabet’s life sciences spinoff, Verily, has developed a health-tracking watch that will be used in observational and longitudinal health studies, the company said in a blog post today.

Appropriately named the Study Watch, the watch has a simple, sleek look and has “multiple physiological and environmental sensors, designed to measure relevant signals for studies spanning cardiovascular, movement disorders, and other areas,” Verily said. It has a low-power, e-paper-like display, and Verily claims that its battery life last a week. Wearers’ health data is encrypted on the device and processed in the cloud.

If you’d rather buy this than an Android Wear watch, you’re out of luck

Interestingly, many of the design decisions around the Study Watch seem to have been made with the intention of just get people to wear it continuously, something that has been a challenge for makers of consumer wearables. Aside from week-long battery life, Verily says that the watch’s large internal storage and data compression mean that it will store data for weeks at a time and wearers won’t have to sync it very often. It has an always-on display, so it shows the time just like an analog watch would. On the downside, it doesn’t seem to show any kind of notifications, just the time and occasional instructional information.

If you’re reading this and thinking, This looks smarter than that new Android Wear smartwatch, you’re out of luck for now: Verily emphasized in its blog post that the watch is not for sale, and is being used for research purposes only. The company said it will be used in a multi-year study around Parkinson’s disease and another study, called Baseline, that will examine 10,000 participates over five years to understand “the transition from health to disease.”