A new report by WSJ claims Microsoft is testing a new web-connected eyewear product that is similar to Google's 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. The person cautioned the device may never reach mass production.
The test shows Microsoft is keeping close tabs on the emerging market for "wearable" technology gear, which includes bracelets that detect how much people exercise, wristwatches that replicate some features of smartphones, and more out-there ideas like tattoos to log people onto their computing devices. Market-research firm ABI Research expects annual sales of wearable devices will reach 485 million units by 2018.
In wearable computing, Microsoft rival Google Inc. has been the biggest backer of devices worn on the face. The company's Google Glass device looks like an eyeglass frame with a postage-stamp-size computer screen just above the right eye. Google Glass lets wearers take photos with voice commands and get digital directions without turning their gaze to a smartphone.
It's unclear how the devices would make their inventors money, and it's unproven whether people want them at all. In a recent survey of Americans by research firm Forrester Research, 12% of respondents said they would wear Web gadgets on their faces if they came from a trusted company.
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