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Microsoft's Surface team working on 'translucent aluminum' smart watch - report

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As reports claim Apple is gearing up to launch a so-called "iWatch," another rumor claims that Microsoft is late enough in the development stage of its own smart watch that testing of the device has moved over to the company's Surface hardware development team.

Artist's rendition of purported Apple smartwatch. | Source: Yrving Torrealba

Microsoft's Surface tablet team is now prototyping device hardware featuring Oxynitride Aluminum, or "transparent aluminum" that is three times harder than glass, according to a report from The Verge on Monday. The Redmond, Wash., company is reportedly requesting 1.5-inch displays from component manufacturers as it moves closer to releasing a wrist-worn accessory.

Prior to testing being handed over to the Surface team, Microsoft had been experimenting with smart watch concepts through the company's Xbox accessories team, the report said. The hardware purportedly runs a modified version of Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system.

A key component of Microsoft's alleged smart watch is said to be the concept of removable bands in a variety of colors. Early test hardware reportedly includes bands in blue, yellow, black, white and grey.

Prototype hardware is said to include as much as 6 gigabytes of internal storage, and even integrated LTE support for high-speed data connectivity on the go. That would be a major change from existing smart watches like the Pebble or MetaWatch, which rely on Bluetooth connectivity to a smartphone for data.

The smart watch space has been heating up with options like the Pebble, MetaWatch, Sony SmartWatch 2, and I'm Watch. Reports have claimed that in addition to Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and LG are also working on new wrist-worn hardware accessories.

Apple has gone as far as to file for ownership of the product name "iWatch" in a number of countries around the world. That product is rumored to arrive in 2014.