Like Apple and several others, Microsoft is said to be working on a smartwatch that it plans to introduce later this year. There have been multiple reports on the project, including one from Forbes in May that described the wearable as a Samsung Gear Fit-like fitness band.
Tonight, Windows blogger Paul Thurott offered up some new details on Microsoft’s wearable ambitions, reaffirming that the device will indeed be a wristband with a focus on sensors and fitness. He also notes that the gadget will be compatible with both Android and iOS…
Here’s more from Thurott’s report:
From a differentiation standpoint, Microsoft’s wearable will do something that no other wearable platform does. It will work with everything and not just the device maker’s smart phone platform. Where Samsung wearables only work with Samsung phones, Android Wear devices only work with modern Android devices, and Apple’s rumored iWatch will obviously only work with iPhone, Microsoft will take a different approach. It will work with Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.
The focus, however, is the same as with Samsung Gear and similar fitness bands: Using multiple sensors, it will track your fitness—steps, calories burned, heart rate, and the like—throughout the day and interoperate with apps on mobile phones. Microsoft makes some great apps, already—hint, hint—including Bing Health & Fitness and Healthvault. It will work with third party apps too, of course.
Thurott adds that Microsoft’s smart wristband will be priced similar to Samsung’s Gear, which starts at $199, and will be announced in Q4 of this year. It’s unclear how the company will brand the product, but it has several names—Nokia Surface, Kinect—to choose from.
As for Apple’s smartwatch entry, it’s been dubbed the ‘iWatch’ by the media and is also expected to launch within the next 6 months. Not much is known about the device, but it’s believed it will feature multiple sensors and integrate tightly with iOS 8 and its new Health app.