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mswatchMicrosoft is no stranger to the concept of wrist-based computing, having worked with watchmakers to release a line of smartwatches starting nearly a decade ago. Ultimately, they didn’t catch on, and the watches were discontinued.

Now, a new report from the Wall Street Journal says the company is thinking about getting into the market again, with a touch-based smartwatch of its own. The report comes amid rumors that Apple, Google and others are moving in this direction with plans for smartwatches themselves.

There’s no confirmation from Microsoft, of course, and even the WSJ report says it’s not clear if Microsoft will actually move ahead with a watch. The report is based on information leaked to the newspaper by component suppliers.

That said, the company’s tile-based interface could actually be well-suited to a watch, as shown here in this very rough mockup.

Microsoft’s original “Smart Personal Objects Technology” relied on FM radio signals to deliver lightweight information such as stock prices and sports scores.

The more logical path these days might be to make the smartwatch a companion to a smartphone, receiving data wirelessly from the phone, as Apple has signaled in a patent filing. But given Windows Phone’s limited market share so far, Microsoft would be at a disadvantage to Google and Apple with that type of strategy.

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