Microsoft Gives Smartwatches Another Try
Remember SPOT? While it may have gone the way of the Zune, Microsoft appears to be readying another smartwatch as rivals eye the burgeoning market.Pebble, one of biggest crowd-funding successes on Kickstarter, helped catapult wearable IT back into the limelight last year. Now, Microsoft is reportedly eyeing a smartwatch of its own. The e-paper-based, Bluetooth-enabled Pebble smartwatch, which can link with iPhone and Android handsets, hauled in over $10 million by its May 18, 2012, deadline. Among its many uses, the customizable device can be used to display incoming messages and emails, control music, log distance and speed and, of course, tell time. Nearly 69,000 backers pledged at least $1 dollar—although the bulk contributed $125 or more—to Palo Alto, Calif.-based Pebble Technology, indicating that there is a ready, perhaps robust, market for the technology. Although its first stab at smartwatches never quite caught on with consumers, Microsoft is at least exploring the possibility of re-entering the market and capitalizing on the growing popularity of wearable tech, according to an April 15 report in The Wall Street Journal. Sources told the news organization that Microsoft has approached component makers and requested 1.5-inch displays for a touch-capable smartwatch. The report indicates that while a new smartwatch from Redmond isn't necessarily a sure thing—Microsoft is staying mum on the subject—the project has progressed far enough to warrant some earnest engagement with electronics suppliers.
"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," according to the Journal.