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Microsoft smartwatch reportedly in the works

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April 14, 2013

Microsoft is reportedly joining the (quickly growing) party of companies developing a smar...

Microsoft is reportedly joining the (quickly growing) party of companies developing a smartwatch (Wrist image: Shutterstock)

Come one, come all – step right up! Make your own smartwatch! Apple’s doing it, Samsung’s doing it, and so can you! Okay, maybe it isn’t quite that common, but it’s almost comical how many big companies are reportedly working on smartwatches. The latest company, Microsoft, knows a thing or two about being late to the party ... maybe it wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The scoop comes from the Wall Street Journal, which says little birds in the supply chain point to Microsoft “working on designs for a touch enabled watch device.” The company is supposedly eyeing 1.5-inch screens for its wrist computer. The report continues:

    Earlier this year, Microsoft asked suppliers in Asia to ship components for a potential watch-style device, the executives said. One executive said he met with Microsoft's research and development team at the software company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters.

Assuming the report has solid information (the WSJ typically does) then this indicates Microsoft is considering a smartwatch. It could come to market, it could get killed beforehand, or the company could wait and see how rivals (like Apple's) do before pulling the trigger. Who knows.

A wearable revolution?

What is for sure is that big tech companies are eyeing wearable computing as the next big thing. And for good reason. Smartphones and tablets will still evolve, but it’s getting harder to come up with something new there.

Smartwatches and smartglasses could give customers quicker, more immediate access to notifications and basic info. Who needs to yank a smartphone or phablet out of your pocket when you can flip your wrist or talk to your glasses? Or at least that’s how the thinking goes.

It will be interesting to see how customers respond to wearables. As a Gizmag reader, there’s a good chance you’re already curious (if not foaming at the mouth) about products like Google Glass. But will “regular" people respond to it? Or smartwatches for that matter? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Google Glass and Apple’s wrist computer are expected to ship towards the end of this year. No word yet on when Microsoft’s, Samsung’s, LG’s, or anyone else’s smartwatch will land. Can't wait? You can pre-order Pebble or order I'm watch right now.

Source: Wall Street Journal

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
11 Comments

My Sony Xperia already has an interactive watch accessory apparently, with 'dozens of widgets'.

what more would you want from a one inch screen?

http://www.sonymobile.com/global-en/products/accessories/smartwatch/specifications/

Ozuzi
14th April, 2013 @ 11:47 pm PDT

Yawn... Sony Ericsson had this almost a decade ago. Sony already had 2. I've been quite happy with my SmartWatch for a while now.

I haven't had the chance to try Samsung's or Apple's yet... oh wait... they don't exist yet... Don't you just LOVE vaporware?

John Lacson
15th April, 2013 @ 04:45 am PDT

Microsoft was the first to the party, with SPOT (here's a press release from 2006: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2006/jan06/01-04ExpandsWeatherStationsPR.aspx)

They were a bit ahead of their time...

Meanwhile, SPOT has morphed into the excellent .Net Gadgeteer system.

Eric Teutsch
15th April, 2013 @ 05:46 am PDT

For receiving notifications this might be worthwhile. But really, for any interaction it comes down to screen size and interface. Too small for even a Minuum keyboard, this may only appeal to the cyborg wanna-bes.

Bruce H. Anderson
15th April, 2013 @ 09:13 am PDT

@Bruce H. Anderson

I disagree. I think there are a lot of things that don't require a keyboard to do. You can read texts, control music, take phone calls, dictate texts back through speech to text, use "facetime" etc.

People under value the potential usefulness of a decent smart watch.

Daishi
15th April, 2013 @ 10:42 am PDT

A microsoft smart watch should be abandoned as an idea. They are notorious for bad design, poor service, unreliable products and excepting xbox poor hardware.

If I owned a Microsoft smart watch it would regularly freeze, get slower and buggy, would need to be shut down and restarted regularly each day. I'd get frustrated and phone customer service to be put on hold for 20 minutes to find the person suggests it's not the problem of their product but some third party thing. I'd have to delete and reload everything to find the problem still exists. After numerous calls to Microsoft I'd start to become an expert at trouble shooting fixing my smart watch which by now is anything but smart.

I'd buy Samsung, Google or Apple instead.That is if I ever saw a need to buy.

Des Shinnick
15th April, 2013 @ 11:28 am PDT

http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/296609/the-digital-watch-a-brief-history/8

It (somewhat) reminds me of the Seiko TV Watch. Perhaps the smart watch is just an advanced form of it?

There are other 'smart' watches being discussed from way back at this site.

BigGoofyGuy
15th April, 2013 @ 12:24 pm PDT

You know which Microsoft technology would be brilliant in a smart watch? SmartGlass, their second screen technology for the XBox. Instead of fumbling around on a tiny touchscreen, you would just hit a button and your apps would open up on a nearby phone, tablet, PC or TV.

Jon A.
15th April, 2013 @ 02:05 pm PDT

this wont catch on at all, the best up and coming gadgets which will be popular are smart glasses/lenses (such as google glass/es) and smart arm bands (like in black ops 2 http://i731.photobucket.com/albums/ww312/lynseed_photos/airsoft/BO2-5_zps1e180279.png )

Tristan King
15th April, 2013 @ 02:15 pm PDT

I tend to agree with Diachi. IF the main way of interacting with the watch is via the voice, as in Siri, or Google Voice, and the technology is really attuned and responsive to it's owner, (clearly a big 'if'), a wrist computer could be extremely useful.

yrag
15th April, 2013 @ 03:23 pm PDT

Very long time ago, the only tech available was the clock in the church tower. The clock made it into small cabinets in homes before it found it's final form: The pocket watch. Much like our present day phones. Or, wait, the watch actually went to the wrist too, I seem to recall. :-)

We're willing to lug things around if that's the only way to get the advantage we want. If we can get the important advantages with smaller lighter stuff, we will. A small screen can flip through the most useful stuff quickly. Of course we'll be fine with that. We already know that a lap top is better than a smartphone if you want to write a book. So we got different objects for different purposes.

Our communication devices will disappear from our pockets just as the watches did. Where it all ends up, I don't know, but it will spend some time on the wrist.

Stein Varjord
16th April, 2013 @ 02:02 am PDT
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