updated 03:23 pm EDT, Mon July 15, 2013
Smartwatch being prototyped by Surface team, using translucent aluminum
The team behind the Microsoft Surface are working on a smartwatch for the company, according to reports. The wrist-based device, surfacing in rumors back in April, is apparently being prototyped by the team, which could end up adding Microsoft to an ever-increasing list of companies that are manufacturing smartwatches.
The smartwatch is said to have originally been in testing as the Joule, according to The Verge, with the accessory effectively being a heart-rate monitor for the Kinect and fitness games. The testing used 1.5-inch displays that Microsoft ordered from various component manufacturers, with AmongTech claiming that a number of removable wrist bands were also being tried out. The prototypes were also apparently encased in a translucent material called Oxynitride Aluminum, an expensive material that is three times harder than glass.
The prototypes being tested are said to have used a modified version of Windows 8, with a view to integrating it with other Windows devices. While it is said to have 6GB of storage and its own 4G LTE connection, and therefore does not need to be paired to a smartphone, it would not be a smartphone itself, but would still provide push notifications and control other apps remotely, just as other smartwatches offer.
Microsoft is not the only one developing a smartwatch, as in recent months Apple and Samsung have both been tipped to have such devices in development. Sony is bringing out a new version of its own smartwatch, while the Kickstarter-funded Pebble has started to go on sale in Best Buy stores.