Apple, Samsung and now Microsoft are all said to be working on a smartwatch, suppliers claim.

Reports in the Wall Street Journal claim that while Microsoft asked suppliers in Asia to “ship components for a potential watch-style device”, there is no certainty that the Windows maker will proceed with production of the 1.5” screen device.

Reports suggest that Microsoft's research and development team in Redmond, Washington, are however looking at their options as Apple and Samsung are also said to be readying their own products.

A number of companies, fuelled by the existing boom in fitness products such as Fitbug and Nike+, expect ‘wearable’ technology to spark the next generation of technology using sensors for temperature, voice and location. Research firm Garnter believes the category will be worth £10billion by 2016.

Numerous rumours have appeared in recent weeks suggesting that Apple is about to launch a smart watch. The product, which has been referred to as the "iWatch", is apparently being worked on by a team of 100 engineers, suggesting that it is more than an experiment.

The long-running - and high profile - battle between Samsung and Apple has led many to suspect that the South Korean company is also hoping to steal a march on its rival with a smart watch of its own, with screenshots supposedly indicating their product will be called Samsung Galaxy Altius.