FOX News reports that Microsoft is currently working on a touch-based smart watch to compete with the likes of Apple, Samsung and possibly even Google. The news arrives by way of Asian supply chain executives who claim that the Redmond company requested components – such as 1.5-inch displays -- for a potential watch-style device earlier this year. Even one executive claims to have met with Microsoft's R&D team at the Redmond headquarters.
With process technology diminishing in size at a seemingly accelerated rate, what was once considered science fiction has become a possible reality. Google has proven that with Glass, wearable technology what pumps information as an overlay across the user's field of vision, displaying information like email, directions and more. Many companies are developing similar "smart glasses" while others like Apple are reportedly focusing on the watch form factor.
The primary purpose of wearable technology is to pull a number of services from the smartphone, not replace it. Rather than rub fingers across glass, users would instead use gestures and voice commands. A smart watch from Microsoft would be a perfect fit for the company's multi-screen goal, possibly allowing users to control other devices like a Windows 8 phone, desktop or maybe even the upcoming Xbox Infinity console. Smart Glass integration anyone? Perhaps Skype calling from your wrist?
"We see growing demand for wearable gadgets as the size of the smartphone has become too big to carry around," said RBS analyst Wanli Wang. "A smart watch that is compatible with a smartphone and other electronics devices would be attractive to consumers."
This wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has attempted a smart watch. The company introduced Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) back in 2004 to personalize household electronics and other day-to-day devices. Watches produced by Swatch, Tissot, Fossil and Suunto were based on this technology, and relied on FM broadcast signals to retrieve information like the local weather and more. Gadgets based on SPOT technology used MSN Direct network services, and cost $59 a year.
It's highly possible we'll see a Windows 8-powered smart watch this June at BUILD 2013 alongside Windows 8.1 "Blue", so stay tuned.