Microsoft is working on a touch-enabled smartwatch, reports The Wall Street Journal.Citing unnamed supply chain sources, The Journal claims that Microsoft asked Asian suppliers to ship components for the device. If the reports are true, it would be joining the likes of Apple, Samsung, Google, and others looking to capitalize on a forecasted boom in wearable electronics. Microsoft has so far refused to comment on the rumors.
This wouldn’t be Microsoft’s first shot at making a smartwatch. 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. Interestingly, Microsoft researcher Bill Buxton spoke at length on the 37-year history of smartwatcheslast month, possibly foreshadowing a return to the market.
The news comes days after a bleak report from IDC last week claiming that Q1 2013 marked the steepest decline ever for the PC industry, down 13.9 percent over Q1 2012, a trend that apparently accelerated rather than slowed with the release of Windows 8. It’s also the second significant leak in the report’s aftermath — last week The Journalreported that Redmond was also working on a 7-inch Surface tablet due later this year.