Monday 15 April 2013

Microsoft talking to suppliers about designs for iWatch competitor

Microsoft’s plans for a smart watch have leaked earlier and now the company’s suppliers have said designs for the new device are being considered at Redmond.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft is looking at prototype designs for a touch-enabled smart watch, which would directly compete with Apple’s high-anticipated iWatch and Google Glass in the fast-burgeoning wearable technology segment.

With research firm Garner expecting the segment to be a $10 billion industry, software companies are piling on the research dollars into developing their own products. The report says that Microsoft met with its suppliers in Asia earlier this year to dicuss shipping of components for a potential smart watch. One executive from a supply company said he met with the research and development team at Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. However, the supplier also said that it’s not 100 percent clear whether Microsoft will go ahead with the watch this year.

For the potential watch prototype, Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from various component makers, said another executive.  The tests of a computerized watch also underscore Microsoft's ambitions in expanding its hardware offerings.

The company launched the Surface tablet PC last year and we have heard that it is also about to announce a smaller, 7-inch Surface to better compete with the likes of Nexus 7 and iPad mini.

There are also murmurings that a Surface phone could be on its way, but the suppliers informed the publication that they have not had any discussions with Microsoft in this regard.

Earlier this month, research analyst Brian White told investors that Microsoft is planning to bring a Google Glass and iWatch competitor next year. Google’s entry in wearable electronics will give the impetus for other manufacturers, White said. "It appears to us that Google has made significant breakthroughs around software applications as it relates to this new product. As such, we believe this initiative will kick off a major push into the field of wearable electronics and therefore will be closely scrutinised,” he added.

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