Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sources say Microsoft is working on a smartglass prototype

Microsoft is working on its own smartglasses, in a move to challenge Google and its Google Glass eyewear, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

For months, rumors about a Microsoft smartwatch, akin to the Galaxy Gear, have run rampant. Based on that, a smartglass initiative is not out of the question.

Microsoft has already asked several Asian parts suppliers to supply cameras and what might be other key components for smartglasses prototypes. As is typical with such experiments, though, the source added thatthe device may never reach mass production.

It's clear, though, that Microsoft doesn't want to make the same mistake in wearable computing that it made in smartphones and tablets. In other words, Microsoft doesn't want to be late to the game again (admittedly, Microsoft had smartphones available for a long period before the iPhone launched, but it missed the boat when it came to next-generation OSes).

The company 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," the person said.

In terms of the biggest companies fostering wearable computing, Google is currently ahead of the rest with its Google Glass product. Currently in the hands of "Explorer" beta testers, Google Glass is wearable tech in the form of smart eyewear. To really be productive, though, Google Glass must be mated to a smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth.

Samsung recently introduced its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but many critics labeled the device as confusing and underwhelming.

Apple has also been rumored to be working on a smartwatch, which the industry has already labeled the iWatch.

In May, Apple CEO Tim Cook said wearable computers will be a "key branch" of technology. He added, though, that he didn't believe smart eyewear gear would have mass appeal -- though he left out watches, for some unknown reason.

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