Is Microsoft planning a smartwatch?

Patent shows Microsoft may be stepping into the wearables market with new biometric smartwatch

A patent filing from Microsoft has been spotted suggesting the company has designs on releasing its own biometric smartwatch.

The patent outlines a central device, fitted into the band of a watch, which boasts a touchscreen display on top and an optical light sensor underneath. The sensor will be used to measure exercise-related metrics from a user's skin, which can be manipulated on the device's display.

Images alongside the release show three modes of interactive biometric data: a running man, which displays the length of the current run, a heart for heart rate, and a small flame, for showing the amount of calories burned. To avoid any possible corruption of the data, the watch will include gaskets to prevent unwanted light reaching its sensors.

Though the patent makes a lot of noise about the biometric potential of the smartwatch, other features will include a cloud-based music player, alarm clock, telephone app and messaging platform.

The central device can be removed from the watch and mounted into a compatible dock for charging the display or storing information. According to the patent, the plurality of the frame means it will be compatible with other electronic mountings, like gym equipment.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has made a move on the wearables market. The company launched Smart Personal Objective Technology (SPOT) watches back in 2002, with the project ultimately falling short and being discontinued in 2008.

A patent report does not mean a product is definitely on the cards. Though with Samsung's Galaxy Gear and Google's Android Wear already released, and rumours around Apple's iWatch growing stronger, Microsoft might just be preparing to throw its hat into the ring before it falls behind in the market.

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