Microsoft's prototype smartwatch testing has moved over to its Surface team. Sources familiar with Microsoft's Surface plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is now prototyping devices directly under the Surface team as the firm moves its wrist-worn device closer to reality. Previously, Microsoft had been testing variations of a smartwatch designed and prototyped by the Xbox accessories team, with the original plan of a "Joule" heart rate monitor.
The news follows prototype testing of devices with a Surface connector, and reports that Microsoft is requesting 1.5-inch displays from component manufacturers. AmongTech recently reported that smartwatch prototypes include a variety of removable wrist bands in blue, red, yellow, black, white, and grey colors. We're told that this is accurate, and that Microsoft's smartwatch plans center around the idea of removable bands. AmongTech also claims that prototypes are housed in Oxynitride Aluminum, an expensive "translucent aluminum" that is said to be three times harder than glass.
Xbox and Surface hardware moving closer together
We understand Microsoft is testing prototypes with a modified version of Windows 8, with a focus on integrating the device with other Windows-powered devices. AmongTech claims some prototypes include 6GB of storage and LTE support, with Microsoft allegedly relying on cloud storage support. It's suggested that notifications and music control support will be included, but it's unclear exactly how a smartwatch would compliment Microsoft's existing Surface devices. The move to the Surface group underlines a recent organizational change at Microsoft that aligns Xbox hardware and Surface hardware into a single division, with former Windows chief Julie Larson-Green now responsible for all of Microsoft's hardware efforts.