Not to be left behind, Microsoft files a patent for a smartwatch

With Google, Apple, Samsung, LG and even Motorola jumping on (or being rumored to be jumping on) the smartwatch bandwagon, Microsoft are being proactive, filing for a "wearable personal information system" or a smartwatch. The filing, which was applied for in October 2012 and has just been released to the public, was first spotted by CNN Money

Microsoft's idea for a smartwatch is very similar in design to the iPod nano 6th generation, with a small square display and the ability to be taken out of the watch casing and placed into a dock. The watch can function as a fitness tracker, a music player, a phone and a messaging device. 

Microsoft will already be playing catchup to Samsung, Motorola and Pebble if they release a smartwatch. Samsung's Galaxy Gear was released last year and has sold well despite negative reviews at launch. Motorola's 360 watch has garnered much praise and will be released in the summer of 2014, running Android Wear, a version of Android designed to run on wearable devices. Pebble, a company that released the first smartwatch to the market funded by Kickstarter, has reportedly sold 400,000 of its watches, showing that there is some market for a wearable computing device. 

Whether this device will ever make it to market still remains to be seen. Patent applications can be made by companies and the technology can never be acted upon, but may be willing to be quick in releasing wearable technology after losing out in the smartphone and tablet stakes. 

Source: US Patent Office (via CNN Money) | Image via the patent application

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26 Comments

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Funny enough, I had a "smartwatch" co-developed by Casio and Microsoft in 1987. It used AM radio sideband frequencies to transmit data - news, sports, stocks, etc. 5 years before the Internet started.

Another venture outside of what used to be their core competencies. When will their conflicted corporate goals end and they settle down doing what they used to do very well?

As if you are saying if a company does something new, it means they are no longer doing other things. Kind of dumb, considering Microsoft's core operations are doing quite well.

Microsoft had a smartwatch a decade ago and everyone considered it crap. Now that someone else made one, its a cool idea.

Riva said,
Microsoft had a smartwatch a decade ago and everyone considered it crap. Now that someone else made one, its a cool idea.

Like it or not it is the execution of a concept that make it successful... or a failure.

Riva said,
Microsoft had a smartwatch a decade ago and everyone considered it crap. Now that someone else made one, its a cool idea.

Well, Samsung tried... and fell short. Apple hasn't even hinted at one yet. The only thing that spurred all this was baseless rumor.

Cosmocronos said,

Like it or not it is the execution of a concept that make it successful... or a failure.

Execution? It lacked colour screen but had more features than the Samsung smartwatches and didn't rely on another device. Basically you must know what you are talking about before you reply.

Riva said,

Execution? It lacked colour screen but had more features than the Samsung smartwatches and didn't rely on another device. Basically you must know what you are talking about before you reply.

I will not spend, actually wasting, time and energy commenting on the tone of your post because it would just be a futile and useless exercise.
For your information I know very well what I am talking about because I owned a Fossil watch using MS SPOT technology although I barely used in spite of having paid the fee to access the service.
Similis cum similibus....

Screw the smart watch, go bring us the augmented projectors. I dont want technology on my wrist, i want it displayed in front of me no matter where I am, whether its on my arm, the wall or a table. Dont want it as glasses. Projection is much better IMO rather then some overlay.

I'm a bit torn if wearables like this are a few years too early. Battery life needs to improve, certainly. Not seeing a lot of utility for everyday folks yet, either. Could be wrong.

That said - its MS. Their R&D department does a lot of work, so there's no telling what'll happen with this. They could simply be making this as a defensive patent for later.

JHBrown said,
I wonder how many tiles they'll clutter the screen with in their advertisement shots.

Just 4, to mirror the MS logo.

Raa said,
Inb4 "copying Apple" comments...

You think they could deny the existance of 'Spot'? The Apple Reality Distortion Field™ cannot be that strong, can it? ;-)

Raa said,
Inb4 "copying Apple" comments...

Except Apple hasnt released a watch yet and MS had a semi-smart watch before...