A new patent reveals that Microsoft is working on a smartwatch to rival the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the rumoured Apple iWatch.
The patent application, which was filed in 2012 but only published by the US Patent Office this week, is for what Microsoft calls a Wearable Personal Information System.
Beta News reports that the watch will likely have fitness and health capabilities – heart rate monitoring and calories burned, and so on – and there’s a twist to the design whereby the watch body can be detached from the strap, and then used with other hardware. For example, it could be docked with other fitness-related devices to share data.
The smartwatch was described in the patent documents as supporting messaging, phone calls, music control, and an alarm clock. It will also feature a removable wristband that may be washed.
ZDnet says that the dozen images included in the patent indicate the back surface of the device would have an optical sensor, electrical connector and a data connector.
It says Microsoft’s smartwatch efforts were reportedly being led initially by the Xbox team but then moved to its Surface team.
Other rumours claim that the watchband will come in red, black, yellow and blue, the watch will be made of oxynitride aluminium (a translucent form of the metal) and it is said to run a version of Windows 8.
Several companies have already had success with smartwatches, such as Pebble which says it sold 400,000 devices in 2013.
Google plans to release its Moto 360 smartwatch in the US this summer, while Samsung has already launched its Galaxy Gear range of Android-powewred watches.