The latest reports claim that the Microsoft smartwatch is real and is being developed by the same employees responsible for the Xbox and Kinect systems.
According to The Verge, the device started life as a wearable health monitor like the Jawbone Up, designed to work in tandem with the Xbox, but has now evolved to feature a 1.5-inch touch screen and interchangeable straps.
Although the jury is well and truly still out as to why anyone actually needs a smartwatch, recent revelations from Microsoft regarding what it sees as the future of computing lend more than a little credence to the reports.
Speaking at the company's internal Techfest conference in March, Microsoft's Xbox head, Don Mattrick, said that within 10 years, consumers would be wearing upwards of 10 sensors on their bodies in order to collect data and to translate movements into operational commands for electronic devices.
At the same event Microsoft also revealed ambitious plans for the future of its search platform, Bing, which is being developed as a search engine for sifting through this type of sensor-generated data as well as for answering typical web-based search queries.
Market intelligence firm ABI Research on Tuesday claimed that although such devices failed to capture consumers' imagination the first time around -- the first examples launched in late 2003 -- it expects 1.2 million smartwatches to ship before the end of 2013.
"The strong potential emergence of smart watches can be attributed to several reasons," says senior analyst Joshua Flood. "Contributing factors include the high penetration of smartphones in many world markets, the wide availability and low cost of MEMS sensors, energy efficient connectivity technologies such as Bluetooth 4.0, and a flourishing app ecosystem."