Unnamed sources have told The Wall Street Journal that Microsoft is working on designing a smartwatch. Previous reports have indicated that Apple, Samsung, Google and LG may also be working on watch-like devices with smartphone capabilities.
The Wall Street Journal's Lorraine Luk and Shira Ovide reported, "Microsoft Corp. is working on designs for a touch-enabled watch device, executives at suppliers said, potentially joining rivals like Apple Inc. in working on a new class of computing products. 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. Microsoft declined to comment."
InformationWeek quoted Ovum analyst Jan Dawson who said, "It's not surprising that Microsoft is working on a smartwatch. Any time Apple enters a category, it tends to blow up, and because the rumors have been out there for so long, there's been plenty of time for others to jump in."
PCMag's Adario Strange recalled, "Microsoft offered a kind of smartwatch platform as far back as 2002. The platform was called the Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) platform, and it was designed to allow any number of items to receive FM transmissions delivering information such as news headlines and weather from MSN Direct. That platform allowed well-known watch companies such as Swatch, Fossil, Tissot, and Suunto to experiment with offering smartwatches to the public. In fact, Microsoft even constructed its own prototype smartwatch designed to show off what the platform was capable of offering to users. However, the SPOT smartwatches never really caught on, and by 2008 they were relegated to the dustbin of tech history."
Ars Technica's Job Brodkin took a humorous view of the news, proclaiming, "Attention, people of Earth: the time has come to stop getting hit by cars while you stare at your smartphones. In the future, you will be hit by cars while staring at your wrists."