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Is this the Google watch that will never be?

Motorola Google Watch
While Motorola moves on, here's where it started
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Motorola might not be a part of Google anymore, but newly revealed images of a smartwatch prototype show what might have been if Moto stuck with Mountain View.

Android Police got its hands on some pics reportedly showing a Motorola prototype smartwatch that's destined to be a never-was.

According to the site's anonymous source, this alleged Google watch was codenamed Gem and would have fallen into the Nexus line of devices. It's unclear whether Google kept Gem to describe any current smartwatch it may be working on.

The model pictured is believed to be a 2013 version of the prototype. While it's likely the product, if it ever launched, would have seen significant changes to the final hardware and software, this early version still gives us a peek at what might have been.

It could have been a contender

At first glance it seems the Google watch would have looked almost like a regular large-faced time piece with a rubberized band similar to the Samsung Gear 2. Elsewhere on the watch's face, we can see a capacitive back button just below the screen and a physical button on the side.

Motorola's signature "M" is clearly visible on the front.

Above the screen there's also a dual button rocker featuring the image of a microphone and running human figure. From this it would seem the watch would have supported taking calls as well as a dedicated activity tracking mode.

From the menu on the screen we can see this was still a developer model device, but it also mentions a curious "3 Bit mode Apps." Three bits could refer to a number of things, including a 3-bit color mode for the seemingly monochromatic screen. It may also refer to a lower-resolution way of displaying applications for less power suck.

It will be interesting if this feature crops back up on a future Google smartwatch, but for now we can only guess as to what 3-bit mode means.

Current rumors suggest we might see a Google branded wearable device made by LG at Google I/O in June. It's then we may see how far the watch has grown from this early Motorola design.

What's more, we may see the design and features crop up when Motorola launches its own smartwatch later this year.

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.