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Report Details Microsoft’s Plans for Fitness Smartwatch

May 30, 2014

Report Details Microsoft’s Plans for Fitness Smartwatch

May 30, 2014

A smartwatch being developed by Microsoft will feature a heart-rate monitor that works day and night and will work with Apple and Android smartphones as well as the company’s own handsets.

That is according to unnamed sources who have spoken to Forbes. The publication claims that as well as offering round-the-clock heart-monitoring and interoperability with its biggest competitors’ devices, the smartwatch should run for a whole two days between charges and could be launched as early as the summer.

Although Forbes presents its story as an exclusive and describes the news as “a surprising development,” stories claiming that Microsoft is developing a smartwatch have been appearing in the media for more than a year now.

Back in April 2013, the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was moving back into the smartwatch market and that the device was expected to boast a 1.5-inch touchscreen display. 

This was followed in July by stories in The Verge and AmongTech that claimed the watch would feature a heart-rate monitor, 6 GB of internal storage and 4G/LTE Internet connectivity. They reported that the watch would also feature interchangeable straps and was being developed collaboratively with the Surface and Xbox teams.

The Forbes report also highlights that despite having access to the Internet for support, people have short memories. Microsoft was way ahead of the curve when it comes to wearables: In 2004 it launched the then-revolutionary SPOT (Smart Personal Objects Technology) Watch, which featured a number of notifications systems such as sports results, email, and weather forecasts, pushed via FM radio.

The watch not only predated the smartphone, but it offered a host of the alerts and features that current handset owners take for granted but couldn’t have imagined at the time. Yet despite its innovation, it failed to catch on, even though Microsoft licensed the software and access to the platform so that traditional watchmakers could integrate the smart features into their own devices.

In 2008 the plug was pulled on SPOT, but its legacy lives on. Some of its developers went on to create the Pebble smartwatch, which proved to be a big hit thanks to Kickstarter and, of course, unlike a host of companies queuing up to bring consumers the next big thing in wearables, Microsoft has valuable experience and data to draw from in order to make a better product this time around.