updated 10:57 am EDT, Tue October 22, 2013
Microsoft eyeing wearables market
Microsoft is looking into possibly entering the wearable computing segment itself, reportedly with a device that would rival the Glass head-mounted unit being produced by Google. The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the software giant had contacted a number of supplier firms in Asia, asking them to supply cameras and key components for head-mounted device prototypes. The report notes, though, that it is entirely possible that any devices in the works may never see actual release.
Microsoft, according to the WSJ source, is "determined to take the lead in hardware manufacturing to make sure the company won't miss out on the opportunities in the wearable gadget market."
While it is still very much in its nascent stages, analysts expect that the wearable computing segment will explode beginning next year. One report put the market at a potential $1.5 billion valuation by 2014, and that was even prior to some newer entries revealed and hinted at this year.
The wearable computing market for now centers on the wrist and the face, with devices like Google Glass, Samsung's Galaxy Gear, and a rumored iWatch from Apple grabbing consumer attention. Aside from the new digital eyewear report, Microsoft is also said to be working on a smart watch with LTE connectivity.
The rumored smart watch and head-mounted device are continuations of a relatively new trend for Microsoft. Once content to simply license its Windows operating system to computer manufacturers, Microsoft has found it necessary in the last two years to begin making its own computing devices, beginning with last year's Surface Pro and Surface RT. Those devices met with little consumer interest, but the tech titan continues to hammer away at the segment, having just released updated versions of both devices this week.