Microsoft "working on a smartwatch"

Microsoft is also in the smartwatch arena, reports the Wall Street Journal. Jeff Blagdon summarizes at The Verge:

Citing unnamed supply chain sources, The Journal claims that Microsoft asked Asian suppliers to ship components for the device. If the reports are true, it would be joining the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google, and others looking to capitalize on a forecasted boom in wearable electronics. Microsoft has so far refused to comment on the rumors.

After the iPhone and iPad, it makes sense that everyone's scrambling to join Apple on the starting blocks for the new big thing. But has anyone committed to anything? If ever there was an obvious gadget whose success will depend not on hardware but on what it connects to, it's the fabled smartwatch. Remember, Sony's is already out and it's not much cop.


  1. Microsoft already invented and sold a “smart” watch in 2004.  Of course, they already invented and sold the “tablet PC” in 2002, so I guess inventing something isn’t good enough.  It has to actually be usable too.

  2. Given how well they manage to deliver what people actually want there is a good chance this smart watch will do everything… except tell time.

  3. Whatever happened to the Motorola “MOTOACTV” watch? Every time I hear about smartwatches on the the news, I am reminded of the massive press release they had, followed shortly by the company’s collapse and partial acquisition. I’d like to think that it wasn’t just a large, complex hallucination on my part, but nobody ever seems to recall that someone pushed out an android watch shortly after Apple released their watch-sized iPod Nano.

  4. I like how even though none of the big 3 or 4 have even released a product yet, it’s still implied that it was Apple’s idea.

    /just giving Rob a hard time….

  5. People, obviously what this product needs is a pack-in Dick Tracy yellow hat.  If you are going to deliver on a premise, why go halfway?

    *nods smugly to own self*

  6. I had the previous Microsoft smartwatch. It was kind of neat, except for needing to subscribe to MSN direct services to set it up, not working with Twitter, needing to be charged on an inductive charger every night without fail, and not even telling time when it couldn’t get a signal.

  7. This is exactly the thing a company like Microsoft would be working on. Because in today’s age of everybody having a smartphone pasted to their body, nobody has a device able to tell them the time.

  8. For me, one of the side benefits of carrying a smartphone is not having to wear a watch. I suspect that for the vast majority of people, this “smart watch” concept is a solution in search of a problem.

  9. Now that smartphone users have given up wearing a watch, we’re going to try and sell them a watch? That will need constant charging? That does the same stuff as your smartphone, but less of it? And that only has a usefully large screen if your wrist is the size of a ham? Sign me the heck up!

    1. I don’t know anyone under 30 who wears a watch except as fashion statement. Good thing the over-30 set drives technology sales.

  10. I see the inevitable avalanche of “I don’t wear a watch therefore this is a stupid idea” posts has begun:

    “No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.”

    Not that I think MS is likely to succeed in this market segment, but I think someone is. For my own purposes, the appeal is something that can show me notifications without making me dig in my pocket. For the moment, a watch seems like the most feasible form factor for such a device (though I look forward to the contact lens version).

    1. .. what about glasses? less conspicuous in meetings than looking at your watch (which is, to be fair, less conspicuous than checking your smart phone).

      of course, if you really want to goof off in meetings, a tablet is best. Everyone just thinks you are taking notes.

      1. I was wondering if someone would bring those up. For me, I don’t find glasses very comfortable for all-day wear. (Wore them for years, switched to contacts, am much happier.) Also, I don’t really care about the “inconspicuous in meetings” angle, although I’m sure many will. That said, I’m not sure glasses are going to be so very inconspicuous. The first generation will stick out like a sore thumb — “oh, you got google glasses, cool, how do you like them?”. By the second generation, everyone will know how to read the telltale eyeball flicking or glazed look and will know whether you’re paying attention or doing something else while pretending.

        1. Good points. I kind of feel the same way about wearing watches – especially with short sleeves. Hopefully, they’ll both survive and give people options…

    2. I’m here to break expectations. I DO wear a watch, and I think this is a stupid idea.

  11. I’m a chick (<–a Dee) and I would love to have a watch instead of a phone. Unfortunately, all the early stuff that came to market was terrible. I think you'd need a headset or pin that attaches to the lapel for voice communication, but now that everyone is texting more than talking, I'd jump. Half my clothes don't have pockets. But who wants a giant watch? How can they implement it and make it work? How can you text one handed? Someone has got to nail the interface on this thing finally; I think there could be a market if it was a giant ugly nasty thing you can't use, like all the previous ones.

  12. ” it makes sense that everyone’s scrambling to join Apple on the starting blocks for the new big thing. But has anyone committed to anything? ”

    Has Apple committed to a smart watch? not trying to be a d!ck, I just really don’t know if all that is still rumor or official?

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