A PATENT has revealed that Microsoft is developing a smartwatch to take on Samsung, Sony and the much anticipated iWatch, rumoured to be released by Apple sometime in the never never.
Microsoft initially filed its "Wearable Personal Information System" patent application in late 2012 but the US Patent Office didn't release the application from Microsoft for the smartwatch design until last week. It wasn't spotted until recently by Patent Bolt.
The patent outlines plans for a watch that doubles up as a fitness device to count calories and make the user aware of their daily health records, much like Samsung's latest Gear range, which have heart sensors built-in.
From the patent application we can see that Microsoft's proposed device has a design that allows the watch face to be dismounted from the strap and connect to a charging dock.
It is rumoured that Microsoft's smartwatch project will be headed by former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, who runs Microsoft's Devices division.
If the rumours are true and Microsoft does decide to launch a smartwatch, it will be facing stiff competition from Google's upcoming Android Wear that offers a customised version of Android for smartwatches, as well as other smart wearable devices such as Samsung's Tizen-powered Gear 2 smartwatch and the Sony Smartwatch range of devices.
Although smartwatches are becoming more ubiquitous, with almost every major technology firm either already launching, or rumoured to be launching a wearable device within the next year, it can be argued that the market isn't ready for them yet.
Perhaps wearables don't deliver a level of functionality nearly desirable enough to justify the average consumer splashing their cash.
Right now, it could be said that the hype surrounding the smartwatch exceeds many consumers' need or want for one, with a general customer impression being along the lines of, "We don't know why we want them, but they sound cool." µ