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Under the Surface… Watch Microsoft go

16 Jul 2013

Rumours are rife that Microsoft is testing a 'translucent aluminum' Smart Watch, moving the prototype to the Surface division of the company.

According to tech website The Verge, the software giant is testing a wearable tech, with a view to turning the idea into reality.

Following recent reports that Apple is ramping up recruitment in a bid to launch the iWatch, it appears Microsoft is going the other way, trusting the talent in Redmond to do the job.

"Microsoft's prototype smartwatch testing has moved over to its Surface team," reports The Verge.

"Sources familiar with Microsoft's Surface plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is now prototyping devices directly under the Surface team as the firm moves its wrist-worn device closer to reality.

"Previously, Microsoft had been testing variations of a smartwatch designed and prototyped by the Xbox accessories team, with the original plan of a "Joule" heart rate monitor."

The company, fresh from slashing Surface RT prices by as much as 30%, has been previously linked with "MoodScope", a software which determines a user's mood based on how they use a smartphone - but new information suggests a wrist-watch is in the pipeline.

"The news follows prototype testing of devices with a Surface connector, and reports that Microsoft is requesting 1.5-inch displays from component manufacturer," reports The Verge.

"AmongTech recently reported that smartwatch prototypes include a variety of removable wrist bands in blue, red, yellow, black, white, and grey colors.

"We're told that this is accurate, and that Microsoft's smartwatch plans center around the idea of removable bands.

"AmongTech also claims that prototypes are housed in Oxynitride Aluminum, an expensive "translucent aluminum" that is said to be three times harder than glass."

With a managerial shake-up announced only last week, The Verge also claims former Windows chief Julie Larson-Green will now head Microsoft's hardware push, with the move to the Surface group "underlining a recent organisational change" at the company.

"We understand Microsoft is testing prototypes with a modified version of Windows 8, with a focus on integrating the device with other Windows-powered devices," the website reports.

"AmongTech claims some prototypes include 6GB of storage and LTE support, with Microsoft allegedly relying on cloud storage support.

"It's suggested that notifications and music control support will be included, but it's unclear exactly how a smartwatch would compliment Microsoft's existing Surface devices."

Microsoft were rumoured to be considering a move into the Smart Watch as early as April this year, with the company allegedly asking suppliers in Asia to ship components for a potential watch-style device.

Apple, who applied for the iWatch trademark in Japan earlier this month, will no doubt be watching this space closely - as it waits to see whether Microsoft's move into the wearable tech market will be worth the gamble.

Does the idea of a Surface Watch excite you? Tell us your first reactions below