Microsoft is the latest tech giant believed to be working on a smartwatch device

15 Apr 2013

Software giant Microsoft has become the latest addition to the coterie of tech giants working on the next frontier of form factors – the watch. As well as its own smartphone, Microsoft is understood to be working on a 1.5-inch display touchscreen watch.

The Wall Street Journal has cited sources who claim Microsoft has been enquiring about sourcing components for a 1.5-inch display device.

One supplier has claimed to have met with Microsoft’s R&D team.

Microsoft could be just testing the waters and with all the interest in watch technology being shown first by Google, then Apple and then Samsung, it makes sense for Microsoft to at least consider a new form factor that could benefit either its thriving Xbox gaming business or indeed a discreet form factor for shuffling information from the cloud to Office 365 users, for example.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has dabbled with watch technology. For four years, its Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) initiative attempted to popularise SPOT-powered watches.

However, Microsoft has its hands full from a device perspective. Not only is it trying to drive the development of an exemplar smartphone, it is about to embark on the international release of it Surface Pro tablet computer devices, reveal a brand new generation of Xbox, as well as reveal a 7-inch Windows RT device.

Only ‘time’ will tell if the watch rumours are a distracting fad or if indeed smartwatches represent the next frontier in wearable computing.

Gartner expects the wearable computing market to be a US$10bn industry by 2016.

Wearable computing image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years