Microsoft is also working on a smartwatch project, says WSJ

By on April 15, 2013, 10:30 AM

Apple is supposedly working on some sort of smart watch that will interact with iDevices -- so says word from the grapevine. But even though the company has yet to acknowledge the rumors, they have already prompted many in the industry to jump onto the scene just in case this turns into the next big thing.

Among them are LG, Samsung, Google, and now Microsoft is throwing its hat in the ring too according to The Wall Street Journal.

Executives from Asian component suppliers told the paper that Microsoft has asked for shipments of potential watch components, with one of them admitting to have met with Microsoft’s research and development team at the company’s Redmond headquarters regarding a smartwatch project.

Details remain scarce at the moment besides one source claiming a potential new prototype would use a 1.5-inch touch panel. It's unclear whether Microsoft will move ahead with the project or any time frame for a launch.

The rumored device would actually be Microsoft's second attempt at the smart watch market. As The Wall Street Journal notes, back in 2004 the company partnered with the likes of Fossil and Swatch on a series of devices based on the SPOT platform (Smart Personal Object Technology), which used FM radio signals to send instant messages from Windows Messenger, news headlines, stock information, and weather forecasts.

Whether smart watches take off or not this time around remains to be seen. But the category is part of a larger trend around wearable computing, with most notable examples revolving around health and fitness applications, such as the Nike FuleBand and Fitbit One. Pebble also released its own take on the smart watch following a successful Kickstart campaign, and of course then there’s Google with its intriguing Google Glass project.

Research firm Gartner expects the market for wearable smart electronics to be a $10 billion industry by 2016.




User Comments: 11

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1 person liked this | Guest said:

There's only one company I would trust to make a "smartwatch" with all kinds of fragile components in it: Casio. Why? I could take my G-Shock and beat it against a wall all day if I want and it would be fine. I could boil it in a pot of water and it would be fine.

Of course, I'd just rather see an actual smartphone watch that didn't require a separate device to sync with, but there's no advancement in batteries, so....

Guest said:

Let's just all begin referring to Microsoft as "The Titanic". One retarded idea after the next. I never have liked wearing watches on my wrist. And since almost everyone on planet earth has a smartphone now days, what need is there for a wristwatch?

I think the problem here is Microsoft feels compelled to always be involved in something new and innovative. But for Gods sake stop and think about what you are doing. Ask yourself some questions first. Or if you just wanna keep making stuff regardless of how well it's received(Windows 8 *cough*cough*) without listening to consumer feedback, please feel free to keep moving full steam ahead in the direction you have been going. Pay no attention to those massive icebergs up ahead.

A smartwatch? LOL. No thanks. Maybe if it was the 1960's.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I am "Guest 1" who posted about Casio. @ "Guest 2", not even close to everyone on the planet has a smartphone, and even if they did, watches are INSANELY popular and always will be. Mechanical watches have even made a massive comeback recently, with many new companies popping up and longstanding high end ones like Rolex and Hublot continuing to put out better and better timepieces every year.

I'll tell you what: You drop your smartphone on a sidewalk, and I'll beat my G-Shock with a baseball bat. Let's see who can still tell what time it is. :D

MilwaukeeMike said:

When I first heard about this I thought MS was just a dog chasing a stick off the porch that Apple had thrown, because they didn't want to be left out again. But after you think about it... there could be a market for a smart watch.

Think about a hospital. Right now nurses and aids carry phones and/or pagers to receive messages. It would be much easier and less intrusive to feel a slight vibration from your watch where you could then easily read the message. it wouldn't even matter that you had to charge them regularly since you'd just grab a new one when you started your shift. There are plenty of places (like hospitals and nursing homes) where they even still use pagers to get messages around. Any place of business where a manager would need to send messages to employees could use smartwatches.

I agree the personal market for these sounds pretty small, but there might be other good uses.

aMerkuri aMerkuri said:

Another DOA project from Microsoft..

JC713 JC713 said:

This doesnt surprise me. If it runs a Windows phone 8-like OS, then it will be interesting.

coppersloane coppersloane said:

Let's just all begin referring to Microsoft as "The Titanic". One retarded idea after the next. I never have liked wearing watches on my wrist. And since almost everyone on planet earth has a smartphone now days, what need is there for a wristwatch?

I think the problem here is Microsoft feels compelled to always be involved in something new and innovative. But for Gods sake stop and think about what you are doing. Ask yourself some questions first. Or if you just wanna keep making stuff regardless of how well it's received(Windows 8 *cough*cough*) without listening to consumer feedback, please feel free to keep moving full steam ahead in the direction you have been going. Pay no attention to those massive icebergs up ahead.

A smartwatch? LOL. No thanks. Maybe if it was the 1960's.

What rock have you been living under? It's not Microsoft that 'always feels compelled to be involved with something new,' it's Apple. It was THEIR idea first. Did you even read the first line of the article, because that's where this info is revealed. lmao

The Windows 8 interface would be so awesome across all four platforms. Seamless switching between watch, phone, desktop, and tablet.

Ravik Ravik said:

Nice stock photo!

Mbloof said:

I have a Stainless Steel Casio solar Atomic watch - the only problem is - for Casio that is - that the watch will last forever. I also have one of their GIANT 3-receptor watches - a novel item but I never wear it as its to big, heavy and uncomfortable to wear.

The problems with putting 'smarts' in a watch is that of size and battery life. Remembering that 1st and foremost it needs to be a watch 1st and whatever else is secondary. Could they get a large enough 'supper cap' and enough solar real estate in a watch to support the power drain of a Bluetooth radio?

I suppose they could go with an inductive charger but I think the OEM's will insist on having a <sic> color touch screen with a graphic resolution good enough to display thumbnail photos so the thing will be so huge/heavy and battery hungry to be something else that gets tossed in our landfills when the battery wears out.

MS being involved adds the requirement of a reset/reboot button and constant security updates.

I'll pass.

dennis777 dennis777 said:

If this watch could outlast a Nokia 3310 battery then im solve!

Samsung Galaxy Watch with 6 inch screen and S-Pen!!

kidding aside why do you need to add more function to a watch???

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Race? Seems more like a Death March.

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