Microsoft is gearing up to launch its own smartwatch that will be compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices, according to sources familiar with its plans. The software giant doesn’t yet have a release schedule, but it’s thought the device could be here as soon as this summer.
“The device will draw on optical engineering expertise from Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect division to continuously measure heart rate through the day and night,” Forbes reports, citing “multiple sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.”
The watch is expected to be packed with sensors, and is likely to bring around two days of battery life, which is roughly what we’ve already come to expect from existing smartwatches already be released by Samsung, LG, Sony, and others. Perhaps most importantly, it won’t just work with Microsoft’s own Windows Phone platform, but Android and iOS as well.
That gives the device an advantage over Android Wear and the upcoming Apple Watch, which are currently only compatible with Android and iOS respectively. A wearable that you can hold onto for years — despite which smartphone you choose — could be a big selling point.
Another advantage, according to the sources, is that Microsoft’s watch will offer continuous stat tracking throughout the day, allowing users to monitor their heart rate at all times without first having to active the sensor — like you do on devices like the Samsung Gear Fit.
The watch is expected to look similar to the Gear Fit with a full-color touchscreen “about the size of half a stick of gum.” Unlike other watches, however, the screen is designed to sit on the inside of the wearer’s wrist facing their body to make it easier to see and more private.
As you might expect, Microsoft has told Forbes that is has “nothing to share” at this time… but nothing has been ruled out, either. While it may be a while before Microsoft has a wearable to show us, then, it certainly seems like work on the device is well under way.