Tech Wars Continue as Smart Watch Race Gets More Crowded


Another major brand is entering the smart watch race as reports say Microsoft will release a Surface-branded watch in 2014. The news comes on the heels of reports that Apple is engaging is a hiring spree to bolster its iWatch team as the company combats some engineering issues. Others rumored to be entering the smart watch race include Samsung, Google and LG while Sony has released its newest version of its Android-powered smart watch and startup brand Pebble is selling out at Best Buy stores. 

Apple fueled iWatch rumors when it applied for a patent in Japan, the latest in a string of trademark registrations around the globe that could indicate that the tech company is moving foward with the development of its much-rumored wearable device. In fact, the Silicon Valley leader may be preparing to make a broad investment in wearable technology following its hiring of YSL chief Paul Deneve for “special projects.”

Apple is also reportedly making moves to aquire Primesense, the Israeli 3D sensor company behind Microsoft’s Kinect technology, for $280 million, according to Israeli news source Calcalist.[more]

“Primesense’s 3D-scanning technology is used in more than 20 million devices around the world, including sensors that can be used in both smartphones and tablets,” The Verge notes. “Primesense technology can also be found in new portable scanners capable of generating detailed, color 3D models of interior spaces.”

As Apple seems to be borrowing a bit of Microsoft’s tech, the Silicon Valley original is spurring rumors of its own that it may be launching a translucent, aluminum smart watch in 2014, The Verge reports

Citing people familiar with Microsoft’s Surface team, the website reports that the company is testing a smart watch with a 1.5-inch screen made from Oxynitride Aluminum, which is four times harder than glass. Made with a removable wristband, it will reportedly be available in red, yellow, black, grey, white and blue and run an adapted version of Windows 8, with a built-in radio making it independent of a smartphone device.

“If this rumor is true, Microsoft is building a watch that will make Google Glass feel like a toy,” said TechCrunch, but, “Don’t expect this smartwatch, nor Samsung’s, Apple’s, LG’s, or anyone else’s, until it’s absolutely perfect.”

While competitors Pebble and MetaWatch are already available, “They’ve been built with too many compromises, too many hastily made design decisions and cut corners,” The Verge comments. “They’re not ready for prime time… [and] time is running out for the likes of Pebble and MetaWatch to make a compromise-free product… a device that can build market share and brand loyalty before an 800-pound gorilla enters the ring.”

Image courtesy Los Angeles Times