Microsoft is reportedly testing prototypes for Internet-connected eyewear similar to Google Glass. The Wall Street Journal's unnamed sources "familiar with the matter" offered no further details about the prototypes but noted the company’s ambition to compete with Google, Samsung, and Apple on devices.
There’s also no indication of how far along the project is at this point but it’s clear Microsoft doesn’t want to be late to the party in case Google Glass actually takes off. Right now, the latter has seen a limited rollout aimed at developers and early adopters with a $1,500 Explorer edition unit. A more consumer and presumably wallet friendly variant could arrive at some point in 2014 but there’s nothing official from Google yet.
This isn't the first time we've heard of Microsoft’s interest in this still-nascent segment. Early Xbox One documents leaked last year pointed to some form of augmented reality glasses known internally as Project Fortaleza. The company also filed a patent application towards the end of 2012 for a head-mounted system that combines an integrated camera with a transparent display for overlaying information on objects within the user's field of view.
In both cases it seems the devices are not intended to be used throughout the day as you are getting around -- like Google Glass is. The first is probably related to gaming applications, while the one described in the patent is meant to be used at live events like sports games or concerts for things like live stats and real-time translation of speech or text. The company is likely considering all sorts of approaches before moving beyond concept stage.
Aside from connected eyewear Redmond -- like Samsung, LG, Google and even Apple -- is also rumored to be working on some sort of smart watch that will interact with its range of devices. Details remain scarce at the moment but the company has had some previous experience in the field with the SPOT platform.