by Anton Shilov
10/22/2013 | 11:55 PM
Being one of the biggest technology companies in the world, Microsoft Corp. just cannot let itself be out of the emerging market of wearable electronics. Earlier this year it transpired that the software giant is working on its own smart watch. According to a recent piece of unofficial information, the company is also testing prototypes of smart glasses, such as Google Glass.
A person familiar with Microsoft's project said the company has asked several component makers in Asia to supply cameras and other key components for eyewear prototypes, reports the Wall Street Journal. Recently the company proposed a new strategy under which it is supposed to become a software, hardware and services company. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the firm is testing promising technologies itself and may even introduce its own optical head-mounted display (OHMD) with a screen, camera and logic.
"Microsoft is determined to take the lead in hardware manufacturing to make sure the company won't miss out on the opportunities in the wearable gadget market,” said the source of the WSJ.
The market of wearable computing devices will reach 485 million units by 2018, according to ABI Research; therefore, it is not surprising that Microsoft is actively learning its opportunities. In fact, the software giant may be even better prepared for the wearable computing market than one might thought. Nokia Corp.’s devices division, which is set to become a Microsoft’s subsidiary in Q1 2014, has experimented with wearables for a long time.
At present Microsoft is just finding out what the market can offer for a Google Glass-like or Smartwatch-like devices. Prototypes that the company is building these days may never reach the market.
Last week OmniVision Technologies, a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, announced OmniGlass, a new reference design that combines a 720p LCOS [liquid crystal on silicon] wearable display and a 4MP camera module for the rapidly growing wearable electronics market. The device is also equipped with OVP921, a companion chip that provides image processing support. Actual manufacturers may buy components and license design and then release OmniGlass commercially.
Microsoft did not comment on the news-story.