Microsoft is reportedly working with manufacturing partners to create “web-connected eyewear” that would serve as a Google Glass competitor. According to The Wall Street Journal, anonymous sources report that Microsoft is testing prototypes and “has asked several component makers in Asia to supply cameras and other key components for eyewear prototypes.”
A source “familiar with Microsoft’s project” says the device “may never reach mass production,” but that Microsoft is “determined to take the lead in hardware manufacturing to make sure the company won’t miss out on the opportunities in the wearable gadget market.”
This news echoes a patent application unearthed in August that suggested Microsoft is working on a head-mounted display with a microphone, an eye-tracking system, a depth camera, and a camera capable of recognizing the faces of other players. The patent referred to multiplayer gaming applications similar to the Fortaleza headset referenced in a leaked Microsoft document back in June.
Earlier this year, Microsoft also experimented with other “beyond the television” gaming experiences such as Illumiroom, though that technology was recently deemed too expensive to release.
For now, the Microsoft eyewear is just a rumor, but it’s certainly interesting considering that Sony is said to be testing a headset of its own, and other recent competitors include the soon-to-be-4K Oculus Rift and the CastAR system from ex-Valve employees Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft about the rumored eyewear and will update this story with any comment we receive.