Good Timing? Microsoft Reportedly Throwing Its Hat Into The Smartwatch Ring


With all the talk about the Samsung Gear line and of Apple potentially unveiling an iWatch Monday, perhaps Microsoft did not want to be left out of the discussion.

The Redmond, Wash., company reportedly will be releasing a smartwatch as early as this summer, according to Forbes.

The device will have multiple scanners, continuously monitor heart rates 24 hours a day, and will be able to sync with Windows Phones as well as with the iPhone and Android smartphones, according to Forbes.

The smartwatch’s battery will last for up to two full days, the report said, which is about the same time as Samsung’s Gear Fit.

[Related: Windows Phone VP Stresses App Development A 'Marathon, Not A Sprint' ]

Thee physical look of the watch is being reported as similar to that of the Samsung Gear Fit and will have a full-color touch screen that would be worn over the inside of the user’s wrist to privately view notifications.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed his desire for a major release at the recent Re/Code’s Code Conference. "It's time for us to build the next big thing," he said at the conference.
 

Microsoft did not respond to CRN’s request for comment.

Some solution providers are judging Microsoft’s potential foray into wearables against its track record with other mobile devices.

“Microsoft has always been great with Windows and software, but they’ve never been great with mobile devices,” said Steven Kantorowitz, president of CelPro Associates, New York.
 

“They’ve never been leaders in these kinds of devices. They want to stay competitive in this industry, so they are essentially playing follow the leader. Samsung is the leader with wearables right now.”

But other solution providers believe that upcoming advanced communications features in smartwatches will give Microsoft a leg up in the market.

“Microsoft has numerous back-end experiences, both consumer and commercial, and they have devices integrated into all those back-end experiences,” said Ric Opal, vice president at Peters & Associates, a Microsoft partner in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. “You would think all those back-end experiences are going to be a pretty appealing thing because I’ll have a device that touches all these things. Couldn't we argue hypothetically that if I own the watch and I own Skype, that I’ll have a stellar watch for a Skype experience? A better watch for an Xbox experience, and watch for Office and so on?”

Opal believes that smartwatches will quickly grow in popularity and will converge a user’s personal digital life with his or her digital work life,. This is when it is going to be important for devices to seamlessly speak the same language with each other.

“If you look at the other providers that are in this space, Google, Apple, Samsung and so on, look at the back-end innovations they have to the back-end innovations Microsoft has,” Opal said.  “I’m going to have some pretty cool options to choose from, but won’t I have a better and richer experience with Microsoft? The answer is a resounding yes.”

PUBLISHED MAY 30, 2014