updated 01:58 pm EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Patents filings outline design, features of Microsoft's smart watch entry
Recent patent information has given those awaiting a Microsoft entry into the smart watch race something to look at. A patent award for an "electronic band," and an application for a "wearable personal information system" filed by the company, give information on what is to come from the software giant.
Design patent D701,504 offers a look at the "electronic band," which contains space for something about the size of a square watch face. Several angles illustrate the band's looks, under a claim of "ornamental design for an electronic band, as shown and described." The design doesn't state that it is for a smart watch, but the reference cited information points to several other bits of smart watch information. This includes reference to several articles in 2013 regarding Microsoft and their work toward a smart watch. The design patent, filed March 15, 2013 was awarded March 25 of this year.
A patent application, 20140121539A1, was released on May 1 for a "wearable personal information system" that appears to make use of the previous design patent even though it was filed in October 2012. The device can be used as an activity and fitness tracker, as made apparent by the icons on the watch illustrations and the inclusion of a biometric sensor.
The filing also gives information on how the hardware portion can be removed. This gives the company room to place the hardware inside another band for customer choices or inside of different platforms for evolving use of the device.
The watch would need to be plugged into a special dock for charging and information syncing. No USB plugs would need to be inserted into the watch to charge it, instead relying on the dock itself when the battery is low. Putting the watch on the dock can be done with or without the band. It also notes there are small magnets in the dock to help keep the device in place. Placing the watch on the dock would also allow it to be used as an alarm clock.