The Tech Bet

Windows could hinder Microsoft smartwatch sales

Microsoft files smart watch patent

Microsoft could soon be coming out with its own version of a smartwatch, judging from a recently-surfaced patent filing, but it could face serious challenges as the number of wearable device makers continues to grow.

With Samsung's Galaxy Gear watch, Google's Android Wear, the Pebble Smartwatch and others, plus a rumored Apple iWatch in the works, Microsoft will be facing serious competition.

One of Microsoft's biggest challenges will be coming up with a design that's better than anything consumers have seen so far from Apple, and that's a tall order, according to Mike Prospero, reviews editor at Laptop Mag.

But the wearable device market is new enough that Microsoft has a chance to be a major competitor among gadget makers in this field, Prospero said.

Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone, holds Windows phones at the 2014 Microsoft Build developer conference on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco.
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"Unlike its smartphone initiative, where it had to compete with the well-established Android and iOS devices, the smartwatch market is still very open, so it has a real chance of making a bigger impact," Prospero said.

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In order to really compete however, Microsoft's smartwatch will have to be compatible with Android and Apple mobile devices, Prospero said.

Consumers have been slow to catch on to Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system, which held about a 3 percent share of smartphone operating system market in the first quarter of 2014, according to research firm Neilsen.

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Prospero said a Microsoft smartwatch will likely run on some form of its Windows Mobile operating system.

"It's a fair bet that it will use some variant of its mobile OS, but unless it offers a distinct advantage over Android or iOS, I'm skeptical that consumers will flock to it," Prospero said.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang.