Microsoft Developing a Surface Watch: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

New rumors suggest Microsoft is planning to develop its own touchscreen watch employing the 'Surface' brand used by the firm's first tablet computer. The watch would reportedly use a modified version of Microsoft's newest operating system (OS), Windows 8.

The first rumors about a Microsoft smartwatch emerged earlier this year when The Wall Street Journal reported that the Redmond, Washington-based firm was working with Asian electronics suppliers to secure components for such a device.

Surface Watch to Use Extremely Durable Materials

Now, technology blog The Verge says it has learned that Microsoft's recently announced company-wide restructuring includes plans to shift the smartwatch development team from the Xbox accessories division to a group dedicated to developing the Surface tablet PC.

According to The Verge, Microsoft's first Surface smartwatch prototypes use "a modified version of Windows 8." (Source:

The report also indicates that the device would employ a 1.5-inch touchscreen display and would be made of a material called aluminum oxynitride, which is a translucent ceramic that's reportedly up to four times stronger than glass.

In fact, such a material is said to be almost as hard as sapphire.

Do Consumers Want a Touchscreen Smartwatch?

This isn't the first time Microsoft has explored the idea of producing high-tech watches. A decade ago it released devices based on the Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) platform. Unfortunately for Microsoft, consumers showed little interest in the devices.

But this time Microsoft won't be the only firm working on such technology. Several reports this year have indicated that Apple is also working on a touchscreen smartwatch known as the 'iWatch'.

Other major PC manufacturers -- including Samsung, Sony, and Dell -- have also reportedly investigated the possibility of releasing a touchscreen smartwatch.

That's led some analysts to suggest that 2014 could be "The Year of the Smartwatch." (Source:

Of course, the lingering question is this: is there enough room in a technology market overflowing with smartphones, tablets, mini-tablets, and ultrabooks for the smartwatch?

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