LG is looking into building a small camera into its next smartwatch, according to the latest patent filed by the Seoul-based company. The wearable, which is set to be powered by the Android-based Wear OS from Google, would include the camera lens inside the watch strap.
Due to the small physical size of smartwatches, there's less space inside for the necessary components, especially compared with smartphones and tablets which have enough room for a plethora of cameras. As a result, LG is looking to incorporate the camera into the watch band.
Last month, LG filed the patent with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) and USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) that describes the method of integrating the camera into the strap.
The official document, which was approved and published late last year was spotted by LetsGoDigital (opens in new tab), which mocked up images of the finished product.
Obviously, pointing a lens towards the subject when it's built into your wrist is little to be a little more cumbersome than simply holding a smartphone and aiming it towards the right direction. To combat this, LG has patented a system that allows the camera lens to move around inside its housing within the watch band.
This system would allow the wearer to compose the shot without waggling around their wrist like they're trying to flag down a passing bus.
It's unclear from the patent whether LG will provide a viewfinder on the watch face, or whether smartwatch users need to use a paired smartphone to check whether the camera lens is in the correct position.
While the latest idea might sound a little out there, it's worth noting that Samsung has already released a smartwatch with a 1.9-megapixel camera embedded in the band. The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch was released worldwide in September 2013, however, the feature was dropped from subsequent wearables.
As always, it's worth taking the latest LG patent with a healthy pinch of salt. Like all technology companies, LG patents a vast number of new designs, features and functionality that never make it into final products.
The latest smartwatch from LG, dubbed LG Watch W7, combines Google's latest version of Wear OS with traditional, analogue watch hands. LG has used a touch-friendly 1.2-inch LCD screen running Google's Wear OS. That means you get all of your notifications, apps, reminders and messages on your wrist.