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Microsoft patent shows a smartwatch in the works to rival the iWatch

Apple's iWatch (opens in new tab) is becoming more strongly rumoured as the months pass, but Microsoft could also enter the smartwatch arena – we've previously heard plenty of speculation (opens in new tab) on this front, and now a patent for such a watch has been spotted.

The watch has fitness and health capabilities – heart rate monitoring and all the usual gubbins such as calories burned – and there's a twist to the design whereby the watch body can be detached from the strap, and then used with other hardware. For example, it could be docked with other fitness-related devices to share data.

Patent Bolt (opens in new tab), which spotted the patent, notes that a separate docking station could be produced by Redmond, which the user will be able to mount the detached watch body in to charge it, and possibly for use as an alarm clock. Magnets will apparently be used to make sure any connections are secure.

The patent also shows that aside from fitness, Microsoft's device could boast a music player, messaging service and possibly some form of phone capability (along with the aforementioned alarm clock functionality).

As to whether this device will ever manifest itself, that's a guessing game at this point. However, if Microsoft isn't far down the road with it, and Redmond's effort arrives after the rumoured iWatch – the iPad and Surface scenario springs immediately to mind.

Also, the key to a smartwatch in terms of gaining mass market appeal is to achieve a stylish design, and move away from the somewhat chunky and geeky look of the likes of Samsung's Gear range (opens in new tab). And who would you trust to produce a stylish, desirable gadget – Apple or Microsoft?

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.