Microsoft's smartwatch to be compatible with iOS and Android, may launch this summer
Over one year after word of a Microsoft-built smartwatch first surfaced, a report on Thursday says the Redmond, Wash. company's offering will be compatible not only with its own Windows Phone, but also Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Forbes reports Microsoft's smartwatch will be able to sync with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices out of the box. The wearable is supposedly packed with sensors, including optical components designed by the company's Xbox Kinect team to constantly measure a user's heart rate at all times.
The sources went on to say Microsoft's watch is similar in appearance to Samsung's Gear Fit and will feature a touchscreen display positioned on the inside of the wrist for ease of viewing and privacy. Current smartwatch and fitness tracker wearables use everything from dot matrix to OLED displays, but most are placed on top of the wrist like a traditional watch.
Rumors of a Microsoft smartwatch go back to 2013 when the software giant was allegedly testing 1.5-inch displays to be used in the device. At the time, a number of divisions were supposedly working on the project, including the Xbox accessories and Surface tablet teams. One rumor even claimed the final product would be made of "translucent aluminum."
Sources said a rollout date has not yet been set, but noted Microsoft could have a product ready for consumers as early as this summer.
Microsoft previously attempted to market a smartwatch as part of the now defunct Smart Personal Object Technology (SPOT) platform that died in 2008. With SPOT, brand name watchmaker partners like Suunto, Fossil and Swatch incorporated Microsoft software into specially designed products. The program was based on a $59 per year subscription service that sent weather, traffic and other relevant data to SPOT devices over FM radio broadcasts.
Apple is also widely rumored to be working on a wearable of its own dubbed the "iWatch," though hard evidence that the device exists has yet to turn up. Most recently, a report from Rosenblatt Securities analyst Brian Blair said the future Apple device would feature a round display much like Motorola's upcoming Moto 360 watch.