Windows Phone Watch (concept 001)

After taking on both Apple’s iPad tablet and the ultra-portable MacBook Air notebook with the recently announced Surface Pro 3, the Windows giant Microsoft appears ready to challenge Cupertino on wearables.

Yes, I know Apple has yet to reveal its cards concerning the long-rumored iWatch project, but an exclusive report by Forbes has it that Microsoft is betting heavily on a smartwatch of its own.

In line with the software giant’s One Microsoft mantra and its renewed commitment to make its software and services available under every major platform, the gadget will reportedly sync with the iPhone and iPad, as well as with Android and Windows Phone devices…

Parmy Olson, writing for Forbes:

Microsoft is the latest technology giant preparing to jump into the wearables market, with plans to offer a sensor-rich smartwatch that measures heart rate and synchs with iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phones, Forbes has learned.

The wearable device apparently has a full-color touchscreen “about the size of half a stick of gum” said to be positioned on the inside of the wearer’s wrist to make it more private to view notifications.

According to sources, the device taps optical engineering expertise from the Xbox Kinect division to “continuously measure heart rate through the day and night.” A dedicated software platform to go with the smartwatch is said to then correlate data from the gizmo’s sensors, “giving a more accurate read on heart rate and fitness.”

Think of it as the Internet of Things for the Microsoft smartwatch, if you will. Samsung earlier in the week announced a similar health-tracking software platform of its own, dubbed Sami.

And if The Wall Street Journal is right, Samsung is working on a smartwatch with a SIM tray that would let you make phone calls without requiring tethering to a smartphone.

Battery life of the Microsoft device?

Two days, which is about the same as Samsung’s Gear Fit.

It could hit store shelves as soon as this summer, though plans could change because no firm released date has been set yet. More important than that will be the device’s allure – will it pass a turnaround test?

Turnaround what?

According to Mike Lee, co-founder of the popular nutrition tracking app MyFitnessPal, it’s a test that refers to a situation where you get halfway to your destination before realizing you’ve forgotten your device at home.

If you decided to turn back to get it, the device has passed the test. Again, that a Microsoft-branded smartwatch would sync not just with Windows Phone, but with iPhones and Android smartphones should be a major selling point.

Windows Phone Watch (concept 002)

But by no means is this a surprise.

Microsoft under the leadership of its new CEO Satya Nadella has changed old Steve Ballmer ways. Whereas Ballmer would frequently delay Office for iPad clashing with Apple over its in-app subscription terms, Nadealla soon after taking the helm has ordered that iPad-optimized Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps be released in the App Store.

That’s in spite of a touch-optimized Office for its own Windows 8 platform being still worked on. As of May 12, Office for iPad apps have been downloaded more than 27 million times.

It’s also interesting that Microsoft is OK with its subsidiary Nokia making low-end Android handsets. As for the cross-platformness of Nadella’s Microsoft, it can only be a good thing.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft, Code Conference

To doubting Thomases out there: Nadella made it perfectly clear in a chat with journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at the Recode.net’s Code Conference that Microsoft’s software and services need to be available on “all devices,” regardless of the underlying platform.

The company is building platforms and software for productivity, he said, adding that we’re now entering a “post-post-PC era.”

At any rate, a Microsoft-branded smartwatch with health and fitness functions that syncs with major mobile platforms sure sounds tempting, especially if Apple’s devices turns out to be iOS-only.

Would you consider a Microsoft smartwatch if it supported iOS?

  • sadaN

    no blue screen when I just need to see the time, thanks…

    • Dan

      blue screen is a thing of the past, I’ve yet to see it on windows 7 or windows 8

      • Byron C Mayes

        It’s black now.

      • fhjkrtk

        It’s not. Still blue..

      • ✪ aidan harris ✪

        Just a different shade of blue and with the awesome addition of a sad face to rub it in that your computers doomed and you’ll have to spend the best part of a few hours re-installing Windows…

      • Sachin

        I am using windows 8 since it’s launch and updates to 8.1 and glad to say by far no problem like blue screen has occurred. Seems like blue screen is gone for good. Lol

  • jack

    lol…….

  • anasiatka

    Siri. Sami. Starts with a S, two vowels, ends with I. Hmm. Just making an observation, maybe Samsung is trolling Apple again? Also great article Christian.

    • Your Mother

      ignorance knows no bounds.

  • Jonathan

    Blue screen of death. Epic lol.

    • Domodo

      Sorry, but it’s pretty dumb, actually. Especially keeping in mind that Windows 7 and 8 are far more reliable than previous versions as well as the Mac I’m using to type this comment.

      • Jonathan

        Windows 7 & 8 are far more reliable than a Mac?
        *cough cough* Son, you have a lot to learn in the Apple world.

      • Domodo

        No, darling… I’ve been in the Mac world for more than a year and a half, in the Windows world for more than a decade, and Windows 7 and 8 since the day RTM versions of each came out. I don’t even know how a BSOD looks like, while I’m quite familiar with the process of forcefully restarting my Mac after updating. This reminds me of the 1.8.2. days, iirc.
        Windows featureset is crap, which is why I switched in the first place, but if there is something Microsoft did right, it’s reliability.

      • Jonathan

        Sweetheart, while Microsoft may have its reliability, don’t forget the crashes, becoming dumb after a while, freezing, and all woo hoo-ness.

        This is awkward.

      • Guest

        ??? You basically just said: “Microsoft may have its reliability, don’t forget the crashes (sign of lack of reliability), becoming unreliable after a while, freezing (lack of reliability), and all woo hoo-ness.” How can it have reliability, if it has no reliability? No crashes, no dumbing down, no freezing, no woo-hoo-ness. I guess you have a lot to learn about the Windows world…

      • Jonathan

        As in, can run complicated processor hungry programs, pretty much just as well, or possibly better than a Mac. But they all have their issues.

      • Domodo

        How can Microsoft “have its reliability” if Windows crash, dumb, freeze and woohoo?

        I guess you have a lot to learn about the Windows world…

      • Jeffrey

        LOL, I have used Windows for years and OS X for years so I think I can tell which one is more reliable, and guess what? Windows doesn’t even come close to OS X. In the years I used Windows, I got numerous virusses which made me completely reinstall Windows or sometimes even get a new HDD, I also got 2 blue screens of death and I have had Windows simply stop working and not boot up again a few times. In the time I used OS X, I have only once experienced that I had to reboot the system because of a third party app which froze, but after a reboot it always works perfect.

      • Domodo

        Maybe you should lay off torrents…? Just a thought.

        www_macwindows_com/The-most-reliable-Windows-PC-is-a-Mac–study-concludes.html

      • Jeffrey

        Well you’re assuming I torrent my Windows, I don’t. I have had a legit copy of Windows 7 and 8 for years.

      • Rowan09

        XP was the last good OS Microsoft made. I don’t have 8.1, but my friends who updated, all want to downgrade. They say it crashes all the time, slow down there computers and filled with bugs. I like both OS so a Mac with both is the best of both worlds.

      • Domodo

        Empirical facts prove you wrong, sorry.

        www_macwindows_com/The-most-reliable-Windows-PC-is-a-Mac–study-concludes.html

      • Rowan09

        I’m speaking from my personal experience, I don’t care about what any study says in this case, but Windows is an operating system not a computer. I can put Windows on a Mac and according to a study by PC Mag is 2013 a Mac Pro was the best Windows laptop with the least amount of crashes.

      • trumpet444

        I’ve always had a better experience with windows when i built the machine myself, not with the store-bought setup.

      • Rowan09

        Built laptops or computers are always better.

  • jack

    linkedin – connect with people for no reason at all

  • Rowan09

    The iWatch will most like be IOS exclusive. Unless Apple can benefit besides selling it cross platform, I assume it will be exclusive.

  • trumpet444

    Within the past 4 1/2 years of using 7 & (here lately 8.1) I have never had a system wide crash or “blue screen of death”. It happened all of the time with XP but I have never seen it past XP. In my experience, individual programs crash on our iMac and MPBs just as much as they do on my Windows 7 machine. The only gripe I really have about Windows is the constant, daily updates.