Microsoft wants to be on your face. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the company is developing a prototype of a Google Glass-like wearable device.
The smartwear is reportedly far enough along in the development process that Redmond is currently sourcing component manufactures throughout Asia. However, the unnamed source cited in the WSJ report made sure to caution that the device is still in the prototype stage and may never actually make it to market.
The grand pivot
While still officially unofficial, the talk surrounding a new internet-face device from Microsoft appears to be another tentacle in the company's brand-wide pivot towards hardware.
Despite an initial meh from the public, Microsoft has invested in a second generation of its Surface tablets (which has subsequently also been met with a wall of meh). The company is also rumored to be developing its own smartwatch so as to compete from the growing number of wrist-centric gadgets. And, of course, all new Microsoft-branded goods will benefit from the company's recent $7 billion acquisition in Nokia's mobile division.
This pivot is necessary for the Microsoft's long-term viability. The company has largely been sidelined in the mobile explosion of the past decade while competitors such as Apple, Samsung, and Google have stepped up to own the space to varying degrees.
As hardware manufactures have opted to use iOS or Android to power their devices, Microsoft has found itself in a downward market spiral: Fewer consumers are using Windows software, therefore third parties aren't developing apps, therefore people aren't buying Windows-compatible hardware.
To break this trend, Microsoft is wise to develop and produce its own Windows-compatible versions of new form factors before the market matures. And right now, that means jumping head first into wearables: The market is still immature, but potentially gamechanging.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.