Nokia looking to patent a modular, wearable smartwatch with multiple displays [Updated, Video]

Smartwatches (or rather, wearable gadgets) have become the new thing to own.

From Fitbit to Google Glass, to Samsung's Galaxy Gear, companies are also looking at ways to improve the watch. Numerous smartwatch concepts have popped up across the web, but now Nokia is looking to get in with all the action. An application from Nokia to the Patent and Trademark Office has been spotted, with a modular watch design.

Prototype of Nokia's supposed smartwatch leaked on Weibo

The patent itself was filed last August and the images and description detail the modular design. Owners would be able to have different displays showing a specific feature or function. We last touched on Nokia and smartwatches earlier this month when supposedly leaked shots of a Nokia watch were published on Chinese micro-blogging service, Weibo.

It's certainly difficult to draw conclusions from the above diagram, but with Microsoft rumoured to be working on similar technology, it would be interesting to see if Redmond takes this concept and adapts it. We'll have to wait and see what comes after the deal between Nokia and Microsoft, should it be finalised and secure.

Updated 1PM ET: As it turns out, this was a project from 2012, so if the tech looks dated, that's why. Indeed, there is an accompanying video (posted above) that shows the concent, codenamed 'Facet', in action and an academic paper on the topic. It doesn't look like something we'll see soon, but rather a project that Nokia is toying around with for in the future. More info can be found here: ACM Digital Library

Source: USPTO, via: Engadget

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Nope
  • but why??
  • Because he doesn't have any arms
  • When, when will they design watches for the quadripelegic?
  • Never fear Paul. The rap community has been trying to make them fashionable since the 80s
  • Now that's what I'm talking about! Nokia, get right on that design.
  • Weird...
  • That is uglier than an Android interface. Why not make a smart watch with a flexible screen about 2.5" across the top and the band at the bottom?? I'll buy one with the the metro design. I feel the metro interface is perfect for a watch.
  • Talking about something like this?
    I think Nokia made this concept back in 2006, but like most concepts, it never left the paper, mostely because it's impossible even with current technogy - maybe in 5 years Microsoft can do it.
    I would buy one with Windows Phone or a Smartwatch version with WP integration.
  • Just bring it on..
  • Looks uncomfortable...
  • That's what she said
  • Oh my goodness she actually said that?
  • Until you find out she was a he lol
  • Looks absolutely horrid... One would hope this is a very early prototype...
  • The design looks like something that could of come out of a 70s sci-fi show like Buck Rodgers or the original Star Trek
  • Just because it's coming from Nokia, doesn't mean it's not stupid. Do consumers really want smartwatch? I am not talking about geeks who want a touch screen to cover every inch of their body. I am talking about average consumers. If you can lift up your arm to look at the watch and then move your second arm to interact with it, than you definitely have time to reach into your pocket and just get your phone out. I understand there is use to smartwatch, like in a gym but that use is very limited.
    I may be a minority, but I like to wear my normal watch with moving arrows.
  • I think the best kind of "smartwatch" right now is the Fitbit force simple good design and serves three very basic functions. One tracks your physical activity, two gives you the time, and three it announces you when you have texts or calls (future update)
  • depends on your physical activity. or how does it track anything else than cardio
  • "depends on your physical activity." For instance if one were a man and one was moving ones hand up and down very fast...... For no particular reason, of course. Ahem. 
  • Lol..
  • What about if your phone is not nearby? A smartwatch can allow you to easily check if you get a notification to see if its an important text or just a missed call. Could have many applications that could extend how useful your phone is.
  • Meetings and your phone is in your pocket and it can kill the "guess who texted you" game. Also, the AGENT by Smart Labs will notify you if your phone is out of range just in case you may have forgotten in a coffee shop.
  • I don't think having it available for the gym, running, sports, or just all-around physical activity is really all that "limited" a situation. It's very common. Also, if I'm sitting down and receive a text or notification, it would be much easier to look at my watch to see what it was than to dig into my pocket while I'm seated, look at the phone, and them put it back in my pocket... only to receive another notification. If I'm in a situation where I want to stay connected, but don't need the full functionality of my smartphone, then a watch makes more sense.
  • In the long term, I think we will reach a time where consumers realize they don't need a screen on everything they own, and we gradually wean off such things. At this point, however, the only truly portable device available is the smartphone, so I bet smart watches sell. Personally, I think they are redundant and stupid; I wear a traditional watch solely for fashion
  • It will save it battery... Chances of phone being... Stolen... Snatched.. Is very less.... And... U don't have to take it out of the pocket evrytime.....and atlast in case u e in lectures u it is very useful
  • I welcome smart watches. Especially when out doing activities. My main use is for jogging hiking and biking so I wouldn't have to fumble with my phone. Its great and more potential will come from it
  • well.. in that case you will be unhappy because you would have to carry around the smartwatch and your phone
  • Really? Well in that case... /sarcasm. Of course you have to have your phone. Having a smart watch to track my routes, time, and change music is 10x easier and better them fumbling around taking my phone out my arm band to do so.
  • Well then, what about armband? A then you have a giant smartwatch! :D
  • Lmao. Touché
  • If the sale to MSFT goes through, does this product go, as well? Is there any physical product that Nokia keeps?
  • Nokia is great. Apple is watching them with a paper and pen.
  • Yea I agree with you
  • I was wondering what Nokia would do different. Nokia never ceases to surprise the crowd.
  • After watching the video. :(
    How about all screens virtually moving in one or a maximum of two physical segments? That would make more sense.
  • I would get one. If it has multiple days of battery life and is thin and light.
  • Happy with my casio edifice.
  • Only way i will consider a smart watch is if/when/ever Skagen will make one that runs well with my windows environment.
  • Skagens are badass, I'm wearing one right now.
  • They in my opinion are the most badass. Simple yet elegant.
  • Also question.... Do these so called smart watches require a contract or some service plan? Or do they work through WiFi or Bluetooth from your phone? If there like fitbit I assume Bluetooth.
  • They are connected through BT. They can send info to and from the devices. Sony Smartwatch 2 can link together from NFC
  • Awesome. Thanks. Cause I hate how most stuff requires its own plan anymore.
  • If it looks like a plastic Casio calculator watch from the 80s then no I will never wear one of these things. Until the tech is available where the watch is thin and made of materials that rival a Tag or other high end watch, this will remain off my buy list. And at first glance this looks stupid as anything that requires me to rotate my arm around so I can view three seperate screens just seems awkward.
  • Casio calculator watch watch was the bomb!
  • Nah, the Zelda game watch was better.
  • Walter White wore one. Nuff said!
  • Once again, they're late to the game. This technology is already available.
  • Yes cause there's so many smart watches, everyone got it right already, and all the ones out already have multiple displays
  • No.. Please stop..
  • That's what she said
  • That's horrible
  • This looks more like a smart "bracelet" not a watch. Pass.
  • Just because they put the word "smart" in there doesn't make it a smart idea. 
  • So is it supposed to be dual removable screens?
  • Should make a smart forearm band instead.
  • I see a lot of dislike here in this thread, but I offer up an alternative (especially for your AT&T users who will start getting screwed after the 25th)  On my LTE data plan, it costs me $40 per smart phone to connect to my family share, but only $10 for a tablet.  I imagine carrying my tablet in my backpack when moving between meetings, and hopefully using skype as my phone (or lync).  Now I'll have my bluetooth headset on most likely already listening to music, but being able to see and do things from my watch, while removing the phone completely is what I want.
  • Nokia PIP-Boy 2000 Plus? for the uninitiatied.
  • Why won't somebody challenge google glasses? Most people wear glasses or sunglasses do they not. Hell when if had some high tech sci-fi technology for those who wear contacts!
  • Smartwatches, to me, are only useful during meetings when it doesn't look good to pull out your phone. The watch is descrete and lets you check important stuff.
    However, this concept is stupid. Who the hell would ever use that around their wrist? I mean...a girl could probably pull that off, but a guy wearing that? Don't think so.
    Still, it's likely Nokia is working on a smartwatch. Just not this one.
  • Im all for cool gears, but my god that's ugly.
  • I want a smart watch for my Lumia:D
  • Oh my. Concept is bad ass, however I would not be caught with wearing that. But that is Nokia innovation at its best.
  • Someone please tell me this is a joke. It's like buying a bunch of flip phones, detaching them from the phone pad and..... Ugh/sigh.
  • Oh hell! No!!!
  • this looks extra stupid. maybe i could see having two screens? or 1 thick screen that you could unfold into two side-by-side screens?
    just pull your phone out of your pocket lazy people!
  • That looks retarded.
  • Hideous!!
  • These ARE dumb you can't hear them unless it's very quiet and unless you're Dick Tracy...
    I can see it now a bunch of "gotta have the latest crap" yelling at their wrist and putting
    the wphone up to their ear like they were checking to hear if it's ticking.
  • Terrible design! Nobody would want that crap.
  • Looks very dumb
  • That looks horrible! I really hope that if they do launch a watch that it looks nothing like in the video! :(
  • They should rethink all this. Bracelet should stay in place and only screens move around like on rail. In that case would be smaller and more comfortable to wear imho.
  • This isn't an actual product that would ever be released, it is a proof of concept. No way would Nokia expect anyone to wear anything remotely like this. The point of the video was to demonstrate the ability of the software and the swappable modules. Somewhat surprised by the comments, I was sure many of you were smart enough to understand that.
    Also, this is the exact reason these types of videos rarely surface from large companies, people don't get it and it receives a negative response long before the product ships.
    Would I buy one, I don't know, but I get the point....
  • This is just a research concept...
  • That actually looks...heavy, and design is not that gorgeous.
  • can we have wpcentral post videos using silverlight or html5 i have getting to these youtube links they don't work at my job or on my phone half the time!
  • watch tech needs to be widescreen going up to your arm.
  • Smart watches have absolutely NOT become the "thing to own"
  • l0l, there are six WIMM smart watches in one group...