Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

We’re only four months into 2013, and yet it already seems clear that this is going to be the year of rampant smartwatch speculation.

Following rumors that Apple and Google are developing touch-enabled smartwatches, there’s reason to believe Microsoft is developing a smartwatch of its own, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Executives from Asian component suppliers told the WSJ that Microsoft asked for shipments of potential watch components earlier this year. Additionally, one executive admitted to meeting with Microsoft’s research and development team around a smartwatch project.

Rumors that Apple has been working on a smartwatch, dubbed iWatch by gadget geeks, have been swirling since December. Judging from the timing of these rumors, it could be that Microsoft is exploring the smartwatch concept because of the Apple smartwatch talk. The most recent report points to Apple using new flexible glass technology from Corning for the device, which would be a pretty significant step forward from the current generation of smartwatches, like the Kickstarter-darling Pebble.

With the rise of wearable computing, thanks to devices like Jawbone’s Up and Nike’s Fuelband, it makes sense for the next major wave of mobile computing to focus on your wrist. We’re used to receiving information there thanks to the wristwatch, and it would be far simpler for the public to accept (and afford) a wrist-based computer than something like Google’s $1,500 futuristic Project Glass.

Photo: Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat