It should come as no surprise that Microsoft's supposed smart watch will be developed by the Xbox team. Just think about it: a wearable device that could enhance the upcoming console's Kinect 2.0 aspects while serving up functions already offered on Smart Glass. It could load up Skype for hands-free calling, pull up images stored on SkyDrive, and load up an Outlook app for checking email. The gadget could be an incredible Windows-based tool.
The Verge is the latest to pump the Microsoft smart watch rumor full of new info, quoting sources close to the project who supposedly confirm that the Redmond company is indeed working on a prototype. They also confirm that the wearable tech has actually been in the works for just over a year, and will not be just a companion to the upcoming Xbox Infinity console.
According to the report, the team originally started working on a "Joule" heart rate monitor accessory for the Xbox console, but decided to focus on a smart watch instead. The change of plans was probably due to Google's own Glass project which sends information straight into the wearer's field of view thanks to a small display mounted in front of their right eye. Thanks to this pair of specs, the wearable tech industry has suddenly ignited, pushing Samsung and many other big-name players to churn out competitive solutions.
Sources said the smart watch is in prototype phase, created by the teams behind the Xbox accessories and the Kinect sensor (see, Kinect support). One prototype supposedly includes a MagSafe-like magnetic 5-pin power connector – the same one used on the Surface tablets – that transmits both power and data. However given that it is a prototype, Microsoft may choose to ditch the 5-pin connector altogether.
Previously Asian supply chain executives claimed that the Redmond company requested components – such as 1.5-inch displays -- for a potential watch-style device earlier this year. Even one executive claimed to have met with Microsoft's R&D team at the Redmond headquarters.
Microsoft first attempted to enter the smart watch market back in 2004 with the introduction of its Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT). Swatch, Tissot, Fossil and Suunto actually produced the SPOT-based watches which used FM broadcast signals to retrieve information like the local weather and more. SPOT technology relied on MSN Direct network services which cost the end-user $59 a year.