It looks like everyone wants to launch a smartwatch. Over the weekend, Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft may also be working on a smartwatch.
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. But it’s unclear whether Microsoft will opt to move ahead with the watch, they said.
The report also claims that Microsoft has requested for 1.5-inch displays from components makers for its smartwatch prototypes.
If Microsoft does end up launching a smartwatch, it won’t be the company second’s attempt to make an entry into the smartwatch market. Microsoft had launched the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) platform to personalize household electronics. According to Wikipedia, the SPOT technology “used MSN Direct network services, delivered across the United States and Canada based on FM radio broadcast signals in about 100 metropolitan areas.”
Incidentally, smartwatches were the first SPOT-based devices that were introduced by watchmakers Fossil and Suuto in 2004. Tissot and Swatch also launched SPOT-based smartwatches, but they didn’t really take off. So Microsoft finally discontinued the service on January 1, 2012, due to reduced demand.
According to reports, Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on the iWatch led by Jony Ive, Apple’s Design Chief and who also provides leadership and direction for Human Interface software teams across the company. Rumors have claimed that Apple’s smartwatch will run a full version of iOS.
Last month, a Samsung executive confirmed the company’s smartwatch plans. So it looks like we are going to see a wave of wearable devices either later this year or sometime next year.