Microsoft Developing A Touch-Enabled Smartwatch [RUMOR]

By Binu Paul , Updated Apr 15, 2013 09:53 AM EDT

Microsoft is joining the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google and LG in the race to develop a smart watch, according to reports. The move would likely provide them with a foothold in the wearable devices market that is pegged by analysts to be a $10 billion industry by 2016.

The software giant is working on designs for a touch-enabled watch device and has requested components for the same, The Wall Street Journal reports. Microsoft has apparently already asked Asian suppliers to ship components for the device.

"Earlier this year, Microsoft asked suppliers in Asia to ship components for a potential watch-style device," executives at suppliers tell the WSJ. One executive claimed that he met Microsoft's research and development team at the company's headquarters. However, it remains unclear if Microsoft will actually make the watch or is merely conducting research and development.

This isn't Microsoft's first attempt at making a smartwatch. As The Verge notes, "Back in 2004 it fielded a product under the name SPOT that used FM radio signals to send instant messages from Windows Messenger, news headlines, stock information, and weather forecasts as part of a paid subscription service. But production stopped in 2008, and the SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) project was finally canceled last year."

In its latest initiative to develop a smartwatch, the anonymous component supplier revealed that Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component makers for the prototype.

Apple is thought to be working on a wristwatch made with curved glass. The device, unofficially dubbed iWatch, is rumored to arrive later this year. It's no secret that Apple's biggest rival Samsung is developing a smartwatch of its own that Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile business, confirmed last month. "We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them," Hee said at the time.

Meanwhile, a recent report indicates that Google also has a smartwatch project in place which is being developed by its Android unit.

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