By Sam Loveridge 15 July 2013 (TrustedReviews)
Microsoft is developing a smartwatch within its Surface team and has been testing a “translucent aluminium” prototype. The Microsoft Surface smartwatch could be closer to reality than we think, as the software giant is reportedly testing several prototypes running a modified version of Windows 8. Sources “familiar with Microsoft’s Surface plans” have said Microsoft has already requested 1.5-inch displays from component manufacturers and is working on a prototype focused on a removable bands idea. Coming with removable wrist bands in white, red, blue, yellow, grey and black, the Surface smartwatch is currently housed in expensive “translucent aluminium” called Oxynitride Aluminium. This material is said to be three times harder than glass and should be able to withstand many bumps and scrapes. Running a modified version of Windows 8, the Surface smartwatch prototype will obviously be configured to work with other Windows devices, similar to the way the Sony SmartWatch 2 is optimised for Xperia devices like the Sony Xperia Z and other Android devices. Supposedly, it will have 6GB of internal storage but will use Cloud storage to increase that capacity. However, it will be compatible with 4G LTE networks and can operate as a stand alone device rather than one dependant on being paired with a smartphone. The rumoured Surface smartwatch will still have the ability to show users push notifications and allow them access to smartphone music controls. Unfortunately, the sources suggest that the Surface smartwatch won’t be revealed until late 2014. As the Microsoft smartwatch is now being developed with the Surface team, it will also be worked on by the same team as the Xbox One. This is due to the new Microsoft staff shuffle that made Xbox and Microsoft Surface hardware fall under one division and Julie Larson-Green responsible for all of it. A rumour back in April suggested that a Microsoft smartwatch is being built by the Xbox team, with the original Microsoft smartwatch concept rumour also emerged the same month. With other smartwatch technology reportedly inbound, like the Apple iWatch and offerings from LG, Samsung and Google, Microsoft will have to have a strong product to make a Windows smartwatch a viable option.