Microsoft is reportedly working on a sensor-rich smartwatch that will continuously measure the user’s heart rate and which is capable of syncing with all major mobile OS platforms including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
According to Forbes, the unnamed smartwatch from Microsoft might launch as early as summer. Citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with the development, Forbes’ report notes that the smartwatch will be garnering optical engineering expertise from Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect division using which it will continuously measure users’ heart rate.
Sources have also indicated that Microsoft’s smartwatch will be more or less “similar to the Samsung Gear Fit and feature a full-color touch screen about the size of half a stick of gum, positioned on the inside of the wearer’s wrist”.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, has been inclined towards cross-platform functionality and if the smartwatch brings with it those capabilities, it will be a huge step for Microsoft considering that it won’t pitch the wearable as a Windows Phone exclusive, but as something that tags along with any mobile OS platform.
This could very well mean that Microsoft is trying to open up a new gadget revenue stream that is independent of Windows Phone sales.
Nadella’s cross-platform plans are evident from the launch of Office for iPad – a move that has definitely worked out well considering that the suite of apps has already crossed 27 million downloads as of mid-May.
IDC has been predicting great future for wearables – something in tune of 19 million units shipped worldwide by end of 2014 and a whopping 111.9 million units shipped by 2018.
“The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market,” IDC research manager Ramon Llamas said in a statement released with the forecast.
“Most importantly, end users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use.”
Reports about Microsoft releasing a wearable have been sparse until now and it would be interesting to see what Microsoft has on offer – if there is actually any.