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Microsoft set to unleash smartwatch as soon as this summer?

Microsoft is readying a smartwatch and could have the device out for as soon as this summer, according to the wearables rumour mill.

This isn't the first time we've heard about a Redmond smartwatch, which will pitch into the market against Samsung's Gear line-up – and potentially Apple's iWatch, if the device comes to fruition as the speculation which has been piling up suggests it will.

Indeed earlier this month, a Microsoft patent was spotted for a smartwatch with fitness and health capabilities, and a detachable body which can be separated from the strap and then slotted into a docking station.

The new gossip comes from sources who spoke to Forbes, and said that there is indeed a smartwatch in the pipeline, and that while the release date is unclear, it could be out before the summer is up.

Apparently the device will utilise technology from the Kinect motion sensor to enable continuous heart rate monitoring as part of its fitness remit. The sources also say that the watch will sync up with Android phones and iPhones, as well as Windows Phone devices – though that's really a necessity given that Windows Phone's market share would hardly support widespread adoption of such a gadget.

There's an interesting twist with the design, too. While Redmond's gadget is apparently similar to Samsung's Gear Fit in overall aesthetics – a relatively compact band with a colour touchscreen – it will be worn with the display on the inside of the wrist. That's to help keep the information displayed on the screen more private, Forbes' sources claim.

With the previous chat about Microsoft's smartwatch, we'd assumed the company was some way from making it a reality; so it's very interesting to hear the device could be arriving soon, and that Microsoft won't be too late to the wearables party. Quite possibly beating Apple to the punch with the rumoured iWatch.

Whether this gadget actually manifests soon, and whether Microsoft can produce a desirable piece of wristwear, though – we shall see...