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Is Microsoft prepping a rival to Google Glass?

Wearable technology is hardly a tried-and-true market, but that uncertainty isn't stopping Microsoft from joining the race.

The tech giant is reportedly testing its own web-connected eyewear that will battle Google Glass.

But Google shouldn't start sweating just yet. Microsoft's prototype — which includes cameras and other bits from Asian component makers — may never actually make it out of the Redmond offices, according to Wall Street Journal sources.

Microsoft declined to comment on the rumours.

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," the Journal's source said.

Microsoft is known for its software, but has moved toward hardware over the years, from the Xbox gaming console to its Surface tablets and now phones with its purchase of Nokia's handset business, another company that is rumoured to be working on a smartwatch.

At this point, Microsoft's biggest eyewear competition is Google Glass, about 10,000 pairs of which are roaming the world, attached to the faces of developers and enthusiasts participating in the Explorer program. But at this week's Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in San Francisco, Optinvent is showcasing a new pair of $949 (£587) Android-based augmented reality goggles, dubbed ORA-S, which are now available for pre-order ahead of January shipping.

The market for wrist-worn gadgets, meanwhile, is becoming increasingly crowded, from Pebble's Kickstarter-backed smartwatch to the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Sony SmartWatch 2, all of which sync with a wearer's smartphone for advanced usability.

Apple is also rumoured to be working on its own "iWatch," but today's press event came and went without mention of the futuristic gadget. There have also been rumours about smartwatches from Microsoft and Google.

Image: Google