Microsoft has reportedly joined major rivals Apple and Samsung in showing interest in the emerging smart wristwatch arena, as component makers spill the beans on the software giant’s recent meetings on the subject.
The Wall Street Journal reports that executives at Asian component suppliers have said Microsoft enquired about a “watch-style” device earlier in the year.
This was about the same time talk of Apple’s version, dubbed the iWatch, surfaced, which was triggered by one of the company’s first employees, interface expert Bruce Tognazzini.
Microsoft had asked suppliers to ship it components for a touch-enabled watch, the report says, with at least one executive reportedly saying he had a meeting with Microsoft’s research and development team at its Seattle headquarters.
The smart wristwatch, although yet to be seen, has fast become a focus of speculation and has emerged as the tech industry’s likely next big innovation.
Analysts expect wearable technology to develop into a highly lucrative area for technology companies in the next year, so it’s unsurprising that competition is emerging.
Rumours about Apple’s smart watch have swirled for longer that its nearest competitors, with signs coming from former employees and patent applications.
Only the South Korean gadget behemoth Samsung has confirmed it is developing a smart watch.
Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said in a Bloomberg interviewthat the company was “working very hard” on a watch but the race was on to see who would commercialise a wearable device first.
For Microsoft, traditionally a software company, the rumours could signal a heightened interest in hardware after the launch of the company’s Surface tablet last year.
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