Tech Talk: Microsoft XBox Head-Mount Displays & Samsung’s Smartwatch

tech1 Microsoft patents Xbox head-mounted display AND Samsung unveil their first Smart-watches!

MS Technology to be used for multiplayer invites, playing VR games…
A Microsoft patent for a “head-mounted display device” has been discovered, once again suggesting the platform holder intends on accessorise the Xbox with gaming glasses technology. The patent states the device is intended for “inviting a potential player to participate in a multiplayer game” and uses a combination of “eye-tracking information, depth information, facial recognition information, potential player head-mounted display device information, and/or potential player voice data” to do so. “The program associates the invitation with the potential player using the eye-tracking information, the depth information, the facial recognition information, the potential player head-mounted display device information, and/or the potential player voice data,” explains the patent. “The program matches a potential player account with the potential player. The program receives an acceptance response from the potential player, and joins the potential player account with a user account in participating in the multiplayer game.” Images attached to the patent show people engaging in activities such as dancing, playing tennis and sword fighting in a virtual reality setting, suggesting the device can be used for more than just connecting with other players for multiplayer.

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So – the shape of things to come, or just a pipe dreams…

Samsung smartwatch revealed by patent filings

And more trawling of the patents’ office reveals details of Samsung’s smartwatch plans. Drawings show a device with a flexible screen that wraps round the wrist, with other parts made of metal and synthetic materials and documents reveal the company has registered the names Samsung Gear in South Korea and Samsung Galaxy Gear in the US. But the market is divided regarding the potential demand. Technology consultancy Canalys predicts that smartwatch sales will “explode” from 330K units shipped last year to more than 5M in 2014. By contrast market research company IDC is taking a more tempered view after its surveys showed only a minority of respondents showed strong interest in any of the suggested features.

The most popular application was seeing who is calling your phone from your wrist, with about 14% of those questioned saying they were very interested in it. Reading Twitter or Facebook messages via a watch when a mobile was nearby only appealed to about 7%. Samsung has confirmed it is working on a watch, but has not given a launch date. News sites revealed that Samsung has filed patents for three different designs since the start of the year. They reveal a curved bendable screen that covers about half of the device – at one end of the display is a small panel with a back arrow and home keys similar in design to those found on its original Galaxy S Android handset. The drawings also show a physical power button and speaker, and the accompanying descriptions note that the screen can be attached to different straps to accommodate customers’ varying wrist sizes. The documents add that the devices should provide access to the internet; be able to make and receive phone calls, emails and texts; and store personal information.

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Samsung are not along, and will have to compete with several other companies who have all released, or are set to release, smartwatches, including:

  • Sony’s Smartwatch 2 as a wrist-based “access-ory” to its Xperia Android smartphones
  • Omate’s Truesmart watch, a stand-alone gadget featuring a five megapixel camera
  • TomTom fitness-oriented Sport Watch range, equipped with a heart rate monitor & speed sensor
  • Pebble’s energy-efficient electronic paper display and customisable watch face designs give it more of a “fashion” feel
  • Shanda’s Geak Watch can play movies, and record medical data like blood pressure & sleep patterns

And the rumours are that Microsoft and Samsung are working on watch designs, and patent documents from Apple and Google suggesting they are at least considering the concept. When IDC asked which of the brands they would most trust to develop a wearable device that embedded communication functions and internet features, 39% picked Apple, 27% Google, 21% Microsoft and just 17% Samsung.

Sources: US Patent Office,, BBC
Reporter: SilverFox

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