Forbes: Microsoft to Launch Wearable "Within Weeks"

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According to Forbes Microsoft will launch a wearable device in a few weeks' time-- specifically a cross-platform smartwatch with passive heart tracking and a battery life of over 2 days of regular use.

SmartwatchConfirming the Forbes report is news site The Verge.

Rumours of Microsoft working on a smartwatch date as far back as April 2013, when the Wall Street Journal reported on the company working on "designs for a touch-enabled watch device." More recently a Forbes story from May 2014 tells of a Microsoft wearable featuring "optical engineering expertise from Microsoft's Xbox Kinect division" and a long-lasting battery life.

If the Forbes story is true it means Microsoft might emerge as a dark horse in the race for smartwatch dominance-- after all, battery life is one main complaint faced by the current crop of smartwatches, as the Samsung Gear, Moto 360 and even the Apple Watch demand daily charging.

Forbes speculates Microsoft might have used its expertise in software to create sensor integrations boosting the power train efficiency of the device. It might also use the smartwatch as an enterprise health-tracking device, using its cloud-powered big data muscle to offer companies a means to track employee health and cut healthcare costs.

Would Microsoft even find smartwatch success? The Windows maker's record in hardware is mixed, with a Zune for every Kinect, but it actually has a head start in wearables-- one might recall SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology), the N. America-only subscription service launched in 2003. It used FM radio to beam instant messages, news headlines, stock information and weather forecasts to enabled devices, namely Fossil, Suunto, Tissot and Swatch smartwatches and, bizarrely enough, a Melitta coffeemaker.

It also employs one Bill Buxton, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research with a fondness for smartwatches.

A final, interesting point-- if Microsoft releases its wearable device so soon it means the Apple Watch, with its early 2015 launch date, will be beat for the lucrative 2014 holiday season sales…

Go Microsoft Plans to Launch a Wearable Device Within Weeks (Forbes)

Go Microsoft to Launch Wearable Fitness Band in Coming Weeks (The Verge)

Go The Next Wearables Contender Is…