Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Microsoft is the latest company tipped to be building a smartwatch after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is developing a touchscreen watch device. It is also said to be continuing work on its own smartphone.
Supplier executives told the newspaper that Microsoft had asked them to ship components for a watch, including 1.5-inch displays, and one source claimed to have met with the firm’s R&D team. However, the Journal was unable to confirm whether Microsoft has definite plans to bring the device to market.
Microsoft actually tried to get into the watch game in the early 2000s with its Smart Personal Objects Technology initiative. SPOT-powered watches arrived in 2004 before fizzling out in 2008.
With the development of its Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, Microsoft has ramped up its hardware division. Last week, the Journal reported that the company is working on a 7-inch tablet as well. As such, it’s not much of a leap of the imagination that the company may be testing an in-house smartphone. The software giant has worked closely with Nokia and other hardware partners on its Windows Phone platform, but device sales are still significantly left than competing platforms from Apple and Google.
Rumors of an industry-wide race to build a modern smartwatch have kept speculation high on the future of intelligent timekeeping. Samsung confirmed last month that it is working on such a project, while Apple is reportedly working on an iOS-based watch for release later this year. Google has also been named as investigating the possibility of a smartwatch.
Pebble kicked off the watch craze last year with a blockbuster Kickstarter project that raised over $10 million. It began shipping its first devices to backers earlier this year.
With Google set to deliver its Glass prototypes soon, wearable computing is poised to make the jump from science-fiction to reality. China’s Baidu has also said it is working on its own “Baidu Eye” smartglass prototype.
Image credit: iStockphoto
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