Wearable electronics are apparently the next big trend in tech, as a new rumor claims Microsoft plans to join the fray with its own set of high-tech glasses in the first half of 2014.
Analyst Brian White said in a note to investors on Thursday that he believes Microsoft is planning to bring to market a set of Internet-connected glasses next year. If true, that would put Microsoft in a position to compete with Google Glass, a project with a very public presence despite the fact that it is still in development.
White believes that Google Glass will kick off what he sees as a "major push" in wearable electronics by the biggest tech companies. Among those expected to play a part is Apple, which is rumored to be working on a so-called "iWatch" accessory.
The same analyst made waves on Wednesday when he claimed that Apple plans to launch a full-fledged television set later this year with a new hand-worn accessory White dubbed the "iRing." With this device, he said, users will be able to use their hands to easily control the television set.
White's details were purportedly taken from discussions with members of Apple's supply chain while on a tour of Asia. While Wednesday was the first such indication of an "iRing," rumors of an "iWatch" appeared earlier this year and have remained ever since.
AppleInsider even unearthed a smart watch concept from an Apple patent application in February that showed a wrist-worn device with a curved, flexible display.
While rumors have suggested Apple's interest in wearable technology lies in the hands, Google âÂ and now, allegedly, Microsoft as well â has shown more interest in the eyes. It was even confirmed earlier this year that Google Glass will offer compatibility with Apple's iPhone over Bluetooth, as well as devices running Google's Android mobile operating system.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass.
In addition to Bluetooth, Google Glass prototypes also include Wi-Fi and GPS, as well as an integrated camera for snapping pictures. By wearing Google Glass, users will be able to accomplish voice-driven activities such as sending a text message or answering a call. The integrated display, located to to the upper right of a user's right eye, displays necessary information to operate the headset.
While much is known about Google Glass, White's note to investors on Thursday offered no specific indication as to what direction Microsoft's rumored glasses might take. He expects Google's product to ship first, in late 2013, before Microsoft's arrives in the first half of next year.
"It appears to us that Google has made significant breakthroughs around software applications as it relates to this new product," he said. "As such, we believe this initiative will kick off a major push into the field of wearable electronics and therefore will be closely scrutinized."