Microsoft will unveil a fitness band with smartwatch functions within the next few weeks, according to reports.
The smartwatch will connect to a smartphone, such as Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phones, and display notifications and other data from the internet. It will also act as a fitness tracker, monitoring motion, activity and calories burned, using sensors.
The key feature will be a heart-rate monitor that continuously tracks the wearer’s heart throughout the day. It will have a two-day battery life, while most smartwatches with similar capabilities can only last hours with continuous heart monitoring, or a day with intermittent testing.
First wearable under the new boss
Patents filed in 2012 and published in May show that Microsoft has been working on a fitness smartwatch for the past couple of years, but the Spot smartwatch from 2004 was Microsoft’s first attempt at a wearable device.
The Spot used FM radio to send the watch news, weather and other information, but was ahead of its time and failed to gain mass appeal.
The new Microsoft smartwatch will be the first foray for the company into the expanding wearables market under the relatively new chief executive Satya Nadella.
Samsung, Motorola, LG and Pebble, among others, have launched smartwatch devices within the past year, despite wearables struggling to gain mass adoption and being discarded within a year by users. Microsoft apps for Google’s Android Wear smartwatches are already available as extensions to the company’s Android smartphone and tablet apps.
Apple unveiled its smartwatch, the Apple Watch, in June but it will not be available until spring 2015.
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Monday 20th October 2014 11.19 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010