Microsoft released smartwatches in 2003 through its "smart personal objects technology" platform.
One of the next major personal computing segments is expected to be watches, as companies such as Apple and Google are said to be working on smartwatches that could release within the next year. According to a new report, Microsoft is also looking to develop a smartwatch of its own.
The Wall Street Journal reports Microsoft has asked Asian suppliers to ship it components that could be used in the device (such as 1.5-inch touchscreens), though it's not known if the requests are merely being made for prototyping purposes. An unnamed supply executive who spoke to The Journal said he met with Microsoft research and development representatives at the company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters.
If the report is accurate, it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has developed a smartwatch. In 2003, Microsoft announced it would create software for "smart personal objects technology" watches through partnerships with Fossil and other companies. Those watches were designed to provide users with information such as weather updates, news, stock quotes and personal messages. The technology never took off, however, and development for the platform was halted in 2008. Other household devices were also designed to make use of the platform.
Microsoft has been widely criticized for being late to the game with its relatively new Windows Phone operating system for smartphones as well as its recent push in the tablet sector with Windows RT and Windows 8 – specifically with its own Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets. If the company is indeed working on a smartwatch, it would likely be launching the device within a similar time frame as competitors.