Skip to main content

Microsoft reportedly working on smartwatches

It seems these days that smartphones have relegated watches to be wardrobe accessories. While you and I may still keep those wearable clocks on our wrists, there is a good percentage of the population that doesn't necessarily need them anymore. Don’t tell Microsoft though, the Redmond company is supposedly working on a smartwatch. SPOT take two?  Four screens and a cloud?

If you pay attention to the tech world you've heard rumors of Apple and Google working on smartwatches. Devices like the Fitbit are seeing an uptick in usage and popularity. So it's understandable that Microsoft would want to jump into the space that it helped pioneer.

How exactly did Microsoft pioneer wearable electronics? Like a handful of other products and categories, Microsoft was ahead of the time when it launched SPOT, also known as smart personal objects technology. This was a platform that enabled devices like watches, desktop clocks, and even coffee makers to link up with MSN services through FM radio transmissions. This started way back in 2004 and was support discontinued a few years ago. SPOT would allow your watch to stay up to date with information like the weather, news, messages, and more. It was a service and idea ahead of its time. 

So why would Microsoft want to jump back into this game? Most likely to pass up a market that is expected to grow over the next few years. You've seen how much we like the Fitbit (especially Daniel) and it's a market that Microsoft wouldn't want to ignore.  

So what do you guys think of a potential wrist accessory to your Windows Phone, Xbox, and Windows 8 device? What would you want out of it? Would you just want another ancillary screen to complement and display information from your smartphone and PC? Or would you want to also get biometric data out of the device like the Fitbit and Nike Fuelband products? Sound off below!  

Source: WSJ Via: The Verge

  • Sweet, I think its a good idea since so many are trying to produce this. It keeps WP at the same level.
  • One can only be amazed about the direction technology goes ourdays. If this keeps going on, the next killer product would be the smart toothpick that can say 'hello' so its owner can do more important stuff instead of talking (like practicing a dumb face to perfection).
  • I'd love one of these to work with my Windows Phone. I'd also like an option with fitness features.
  • Fitness feature ... Will be nice :)
  • Make it look like a Rolex not a Timex, and I'm in. I've always worn a watch.
  • Nice Microsoft
  • Please let nokia build them for you MS
  • Yeah, just what I was thinking!
  • If nokia built a watch, it would already be smart ;)... Lol
  • why not both join the party :)
  • Surface vs Lumia - I will grab Surface quality watch any day. Don't want a watch to be so heavy, that I fracture my wrist just by a hand shake ;)
  • Lmao... Good one
  • Seriously, I still really like my basic Seiko watch. But who knows ... could have another device that will buzz when I receive a msg. What a trip to have a buzz in my pocket, my arm and a pop up in my right eye glass ... "You've got mail" .... I KNOW!!!! ;)
  • Add Surface and W8 computer to that. Ding! Ding!
  • Should have a microphone for Kinect. Nice for when you're watching movies loudly
  • That's what we need now!! I hate screaming at my Xbox like it's prostitute not doing it right. ;) JK
  • This made me laugh :-D
  • How do you know how to scream at a prostitute?
  • Hope they seriously consider this, and don't wait years as they did to enter in phone's territory with WP
  • It be cool if its screen had your live tile info and/or toast notifications
  • Toast notifications would be sooo sick. You want a notification center? You got it. Right on your wrist
  • That would be hot!
  • Haven't had a watch on my arm for at least ten years...
    Hate to carry around unnecessary stuff...
  • +1, but I can appreciate that some people that feel the need to constantly be checking notifications would love to see them glanceable on their wrists. I hate having to pull out my phone to check the time, but I hated wearing a watch more.
  • There is the tech to create a bendable screen. That would lead to smaller tech and would most likely work on WiFi or what ever the provider speed is. I would def. love to have a screen that wraps around my wrist like a watch but be able to use it I would on my LN020+
  • +1
  • Would be nice for phone notifications so I don't have to check it all the time. One of the main reasons I miss my bb, a simple little led flash.
  • OMG.... bebuzz was killer. You could set your led to flash a different color for anything / anybody. The Ultimate notification. I wish a W8 OEM would implement this. They'd have my money.
  • This could be interesting especially if you could get XBox live notifications as well as Skype integration. It could make that Dick Tracy watch a reality. It could have NFC integration so you don't have to have it in your phone for low end devices. There's lots of possibilities
  • I always think of these items as trade need not necessarily ALL of them but perhaps you might want to choose one or the other. Choice it seems is what comes when things seem steady enough, unless all of these things come crashing down...hello, emp fallout. =P
  • Just make sure they look good. Some of these things can be as functional as they want, but they look so ridiculous that you end up looking like a duesch-bag.
  • I remember the SPOT watches all looked good. In typical Microsoft fashion they licensed the tech to actual watch makers. The result was really great in my opinion. There were quite a few makes/models to choose from.
  • Spot died out quicker than datalink(another much older platform for ms that started with schedule desk app then outlook) which timex i belive has a official yahoo group still for distributing apps for it. Now if they could consolidate both platforms then they'd have a killer platform. Still have a ironman datalink though the battery needs replacing & i have to order a new watch band from timex but will have to do for now since it seems after 2 years of back orders s.w.a.p's rebel has been pulled from NA e-tailers my guess is for something new to replace it
  • Would love a smart pocket watch. Don't know why, except that I just love pocket watches. :)
  • Shit tons of people like pocket watches
  • Ooooh yea, classy smartpocket watch! Wouldn't mind both wrist and pocket watches...come out with both....
  • I have a smart pocket watch, it's called: my Lumia 920. It fits in my pocket, tells me the time, and more!
  • Oooh competition against Apple watches that will be coming out, nice!!
  • Yeah if Microsoft wants to enter this market they cannot afford to wait.
  • Which market? Expensive watches or stupid stuff around your arm?
  • Im working out and I dont wanna pull out my bulky 920 to check on things....this watch is useful now. Change song tracks while im at it then a glance at my heart rate. Lets do this MS.
  • I love my fitbit ultra, I was tempted to buy the new wrist watch version. If MS buys FItBit that'd be awesome. My FitBit already connects to my MyFitnessPal App and MS Health Ault account. Bring on the smart watch that actually works with Windows 8 WP8
  • Biometrics on the watch would be great!!!
  • I always hated wearing watches so I don't want anything. My watch is my smartphone and I don't intend to change that :P
  • Oooh yeah
  • Yeah I would love for them to have a watch compatible with WP8, especially something that i can control my music on my phone with when I'm using the bluetooth in my car. But I would love something like the Gnomio smartwatch concept.
  • It would be great to get a watch that would show you the weather and notifications. But how amazing would it be if you were able to have an app store and were able to install select apps. An example would be Pandora, twitter, Facebook notifications, windows central. Don't stop there why not put ones like The Verge, Engadget, and others like them. They would if course be mostly just headlines or text, but still its endless applications....Why not have an expandable strap to where it could be an arm strap for exercise and have it able to either stream music or have storage for music. I don't know if Microsoft can pull off any or all of this, but I have faith that they can. They have been silently leading the way for years. I want to see them show the true power of innovation and the true standards of how the tech world should be.
  • why not put all of this with a telefon function in a small box with display that can also be put in a pocket?
  • If only the Gnomio concept was still there.
  • Xwatch?
  • This ^^
  • For a watch of the future, the utility should go beyond exercise, beyond just recording steps taken and distance walked or run. This should be able to constantly record heart rate, pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, sleep pattern, etc, and automatically sync to something like Microsoft Health Vault that would then take that data and plot it over time and perform analysis. Imagine wearing a watch like this five years from now and being able to predict that you're coming down with a cold/flu because your body temp and blood pressure has varied out of the norm. Imagine a patient being able to upload the past 72 hours of blood pressure readings to his/her doctor. That's really where Microsoft need to take this, not just follow other companies and be limited to exercise and personal messaging, but be creative and push the boundaries of personal medicine with this device.
  • Would also be great to have it detect heart attacks, ahead of the wearer noticing symptoms, and generate an alert.
  • Beep, beep, beep! You are having a heart attack, you are having a heart attack!!! :)
  • It looks like you're having a heart attack.  Would you like help?
  • I feel bad for the people who have to live by the clock.
  • Don't worry. A smart sundial is coming soon!
  • You think it'll work on cloudy days lol
  • i say yes for smartwatch from microsoft they don't need to be too late on this one
  • Personally I don't need it - my phone is always easy to access... Although judging by popularity of Kickstarter projects like Pebble - plenty of other people will find it useful and MS obviously needs to do it themselves - noone else is gonna bother making their products compatible with WP8 ;-)
  • Hurry up & make it already!!!
  • Bill Gates talked about new work being done on a "new generation" Smart (SPOT) Watch back on May 15, 2006. I'm glad to see it's happening again even if 7 years later.
  • Sign me up for a day 1 buy!
  • I think that if Ms figures out a way to use a bendable screen a la slap on screen, then they would had the best lead. Y'all understand this nerd talk or what? Remember those slap on wrist bs ds with the weird 90's thing?!?!?!?!?
  • Nothing will replace my collection of analog watches. I have a smartphone for a reason. (Just my expressed opinion) Next up, smart undergarments*: "time to take a dump" *Made in America
  • Smart watches. God; what else is new?
  • Whoever does it, is going to be a disastrous fail
  • I want something that stands alone feature-wise but can also pair with a phone. Apps a must. Alarms and other standard watch features a must. Bonkerz battery life.
  • Not my cup of tea, I'm old fashioned and am still wearing my analog wrist watch with its battery that keeps it going for several years.
    But for some people, why not. I just hope that it won't fail on daylight saving or leave out whole months. Oops, those were other companies.
  • no need for this. My watch I have is twice better. I have a cia type of watch
  • I'm more interested in the battery life.
  • It should tell the time, and also let you know if you've got any notifications when linked other devices, such as texts, emails, missed calls and game notifications
    That, and also be able to speak into it when making phone calls :-D
  • I backed a pebble smartwatch and will be swapping the SIM from my 8X into a GNEX until wp8 gets the proper spp support. I love the idea of smart watches and google glass. If they make a watch for wp8 ill be definitely be an early adopter.
  • I would like a mic button you press so you can give Kinect-like instructions to whatever device you're paired with. Ok, maybe I've watched too many episodes of Knight Rider as a kid, but I could see this being very useful.
  • Do you guys ever sleep?
  • Aren't you up at the same time?
  • Hopefully it'll link with new xbox. Having some sort of connection to my beloved xbox and xbox live would be awesome. But then the phone i type this with does that..of sorts
  • You know I think you're onto something there. Client on the game sends you an email? It peeps on your smartphone/smartwatch and you can check it out there. More immersive gaming.
  • I was going to say that I can't see the general public giving up another facet of individuality and allow themselves to be homogenized even further but actually, when I thought about it, that was a stupid thought.  I can *very* much envisage Apple's watch being a success, just because it has an Apple logo on it and the poor, misguided drones, desperate for yet another pathetic status symbol that they believe will, in some way, validate them as human beings, will buy it in their millions.  I can't see smart watches making inroads into the very top end of the market, though, i.e. the ground currently inhabited by Rolex, Hublot, etc.
  • For me it would be a great piece of electronics just if it is waterproof (at least 30m), can measure the depth, and the temperature of the surrounding enviroment, with a price around $200. Otherwise, it won't see me as a buyer.
  • Dear Microsoft, make the smartwatch the ideal companion for windows phone. Have new messages and e-mails automatically forwarded to the smartwatch' screen. Make it possible to control the windows phone music playback via the smartwatch.
    Also, have hardware buttons on the side of the watch, traditional wristwatch style. As much as I like touchscreens I don't want to look at the screen every time I skip a song. I want to be able to reach for the watch with my other hand and feel the keys without looking.
  • As long as it can flash updates and adjust volume and track, I'll be fine. Working in the hospital though I do prefer a classic (preferably silver since it catches light wonderfully) timepiece with a hour, minute, and second hand.
  • Amazing, bout time ms tries to catch up.
    About being ahead of time: ms lost a lot of opportunities by not advertising their new products. I for one have never heard of spot, and their face surfaces I have seen in some tech program >once
  • I had a Abacus WristNet Microsoft watch back in the day and it was cool. I often wonder with today's technology what would it look like and what other functions it may have.
  • I have a Sony smartwatch that I had synced with my xperia p, but I traded the P for an 8x. Now I have no android to wear it with. Overall, a good concept but overrated. Its cool to say what u have because no one else has. U have to charge it every other day.
  • If it has the Modern UI, Syncs with my Lumia 920 and my Windows 8 PC Then ill buy one, been considering a smart watch for a while and wanted the MSN one back in the day,
    Also Give it a awesome battery life too as i think charging your watch every day will take some getting used to
  • Log thy self to know thy self !!!
  • Why don't MS fix WP8 OS and stop all this waste of time bull**it more tiles and smart watch?
  • I would love one. I've been waiting for the Basis watch to become available, but that doesn't seem to be happening and they don't have any plans to make a WP app.
  • I just don't get the watch thing. I just can not see a market for millions of watches.
  • I would buy this watch, if it had a fitness feature. I currently use a polar watch which has a built in heart monitor. It would be nice to see them incorporate something like that into the watch.
  • As a scuba instructor, I still hold onto my analog watch.  I just don't see something like this becoming a useful submersible accessory--at least for a reasonable price.
  • If you have a smartphone you don't need a watch
  • "If you have a smartphone you don't need a watch"
    Really? My watch goes months and months without needing a new battery. I can ALWAYS count on it to have the correct time. I DONT have to worry about a firmware upgrade. It will withstand temps outside the range of a smartphone. It is more rugged than any smartphone. It is impervious to water and moisture. I can go diving with it and not worry about getting a case. I can go up to altitiude and not worry about it. It is conveniently on my wrist and doesn't impede my lifestyle. Lastly, I DONT have to spend ANY time thinking about it.
    "If you have a smartphone you don't need a watch" Yeeeaahh... Suuree...
  • Well, MS did say they were not going to leave any potential market to apple or google without them jumping in. Like they did with the tablet market. They waited too long before putting a viable competitor out there. So its good for MS to get on board early.
  • Lol how bout a smart headband next
  • Let's Kickstarter® this b•i•t•c•h
  • Too bad we human beings have locked the market on Smart Asses.
  • What a witty comment, Fine Sir!
  • Indeed!
  • Smart Ass!
  • This would be great with a toast notification center built in. I could finally put my phone on SILENT instead of vibrate and just check my wrist when I'm busy at school. Needs to have a mic/speaker built in as well so I can talk through it and leave my phone on the wireless charging plate. Also, connect it to the Xbox/Kinect!
  • Allow developers to create apps!  Don't limit its use to what you can think of right now. Include aesthetically pleasing mechanical features, like a self-winding spring that's used to charge the battery, and place it behind glass so we can see it working.  Could we have an old fashioned LCD-film behind the main display that's opaque when the watch is on, then transparent to see the winder when the display is off? Include an accelerometer and vitals sensors (pulse, temp, bmi, etc.) Basic media control buttons that work with (when paired to) Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox: back/rw, play/pause, forward/ff, volume up, volume down Microphone for voice commands and phone calls, when paired with Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox Display Windows 8 or Windows Phone lock screen notification tiles and toast notifications A customer replaceable battery
  • How about Smart contraception? I excuse myself if someone mentioned this already.
  • Walking, stepping, heart rate, temperature and possibly humidity...
  • I want it to look like a 1980's digital watch that I can talk into and it talks back to me in a K.I.T.T voice.  And can launch missles and fire lasers from a black Trans Am.  
  • I've always hated wearing stuff on my wrists...
  • Keep it Microsoft
  • I really don't understand. Nokia, for example, has their great Maps and HERE applications, we have BLTE coming out on the newer phones, so why not take a new step and package that all into a fitness activity app for us who are into sports and fitness? I think Nokia and MS could easily bring out a product which could put a lot of other products out there to shame. My Lumia 900 is already my "fitness activity centre" and having one quality Nokia type app would really be worthwhile.
  • I was interested when I first saw the Pebble, though its incompatibility with Windows Phone (and no plans to change) killed the deal for me.  Then I ended up backing the Agent on Kickstarter. (  It will be interesting to see what Microsoft comes up with, and if I'll be regretting not waiting for them to jump on board before backing the Agent.