Microsoft focusing on fitness with rumoured smartwatch

More details are emerging on Microsoft's rumored smartwatch. (chanpipat/shutterstock.com)

More details are emerging on Microsoft's rumored smartwatch. (chanpipat/shutterstock.com)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

The device 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 that 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 that it 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 over 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 Among Tech that claimed the watch would feature a heart rate monitor, 6 GB of internal storage and 4G/LTE internet connectivity. The watch would also feature interchangeable straps and was being developed collaboratively with the Surface and Xbox teams.

The 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, 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.


Videos

Photos