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A powered-on 'Xbox Watch' emerges, shows off fitness focus

Images of the so-called "Xbox Watch" have surfaced before, but this is the first time we've been able to see the device powered on (no chargers seem to exist for this thing.)

The pictures come via Hikari Calyx on Twitter, showing off an extremely early version of the Xbox Watch in a powered-on state. At this stage, the device only sported four apps, "Workout," "GPS," "Settings," and a USB debugger for developers.

This device preceded the Microsoft Band, and might have been a response to how well Nintendo was able to position console gaming as a fitness option, back during the Wii Fit craze. We believe that the technology developed for the "Xbox Watch" eventually got rolled into the Microsoft Band, which, of course, also got cancelled.

With devices like Kinect and the Band, and apps like Microsoft Health and Xbox Fitness, Microsoft seemed to be really interested in creating its own fitness ecosystem in previous years. Now, Microsoft points to its partnerships with companies like FitBit, who recently released a fitness program app for Xbox and Windows 10.

Image via SuomiMobiili

The Microsoft Band was a cool product, but launching it under the Xbox brand in conjunction with fitness-orientated games might have given it a bigger boost with consumers. Either way, it looks as though Microsoft's interest in wrist-mounted wearables is probably over, for now.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

28 Comments
  • The thing is, the Band 2 seemed to be very popular with those that actually invested in one. The biggest issue I had with the Band 2 was material quality of the straps. It seemed pretty sturdy, but actuality, would degrade and tear. Without the ability to actually replace the straps, hue to the internals weaved into them made the device a no go for manu, or finding better build quality in other brands. It had really good potential. Unfortunately, MS failed to improve the overall quality of the device. Otherwise, it was a great device. With its recent updates, It did a lot and it did it pretty well. App support was also an issue.
  • This, my gripe with it was them straps
  • Waiting on the Band 3 article so I can see if Zac has insight on why it was cancelled. I traded in my Band 2 cause of the strap solely because the store rep said the Band 3 was in progress to be released. If I knew it would be cancelled, I would have kept my Band 2 and just put electrical tape on the straps.
  • Tried that. Electrical tape doesn't stick well to the material. Eventually it ends up sliding down and leaving a nasty, sticky, residue that has to be cleaned off before re-applying more tape.
  • I've had success using adhesive heat shrink tubing.
  • I loved my Band 2 while it lasted.  As mentioned, the straps tore on mine.  I kept using it for another 6 month with electrical tape.  I'm using a Samsung fit 2 pro right now and it's been a bit disappointing. The one feature I miss the most?  The tiny keyboard that works surprisingly well!  I can view and respond to text messages with my phone still in my pocket or at the office when my phone is charging on my desk.
  • Yeah, I found a nice way to reinforce my straps after the fact. I found that tire repair kits work well with the strap material. If you cut the patch to fit right, it actually doesn't look too bad. I think it actually gives it a nice sporty look, but that's just me. Lol
  • If only Surface division took over the development of Band, it would've become a game changing fitness device. I'd get one just for the Surface precision and quality design.
  • Band was under surface division.
  • It occurs to me that once the Surface not-Phone and OEM equivs come out there will be a problem. Whilst they are anything but phones, they will likely be capable of making phone calls. They are not likely to be the most convenient devices for such though. What's needed is a Bluetooth solution, and for those of us who don't work for one of the world's friendly national security services and so won't be sporting an ear piece any time soon, it's a wrist device or a wait until a swanky Star Trek Next Gen pin gets developed. I think Microsoft are doing the dislocated thinking thing again. You use Windows Sir? Nothing for you here...
  • The patents don't appear to be that big. It could be 6.4" and 18:9 when folded. There would be no problem using that as a phone. People don't seem to mind the GS8+ or Note.
  • You're being too kind. This device, I've never even seen, is totally useless!
    .
    /s
  • Though MS might not make another band, I hope they will influence their partners to develop a smart watch/band with Windows IoT core. It will be great if Fitbit could make a high end smart watch (less than $ 300) which has Cortana built in and I will be in line to get that device.
  • Cortana is dying.  Couple years she'll be gone.  She's getting treated the same way Windows Phone has.
  • I doubt this will happen since Fitbit has their own OS now. At best you might see a Cortana app in the Fitbit OS.
  • The OS itself is only on the Ionic and nothing else at this point, I suppose they could license it to other wearable manufacturers though.
  • just me or does the hardware look a LOT like the Fitbit Blaze?? Wonder if there is/was any connection rather than coincidence.
  • That's what I was thinking, it looks very similar to both the Blaze and Ionic
  • Another device for Zac to add to his collection. ;)
  • I already asked him if he's bought it yet!
  • Seems like it would have had straps a little like the Fitbit Blaze and would have had the straps as a sort of cradle to hold this part in it.
  • Gamified fitness watch seems like the most ideal wearable for the current market... Microsoft generates so many good ideas years ahead of others...but they don't come to market! I think wearbales and smart home products using windows IOT should come with XBox brand and not Windows or Microsoft. XBox team knows a thing or two about building consumer electronics gadgets and a popular brand among the young demographic... Also that would be a great way to showcase windowsIOT & cloud services and attract OEMs to use the platform.  
  • Microsoft only made the stuff for companies to see what kinda things they could take from Microsoft to use in their own products for connecting to whatever services they were offering so Microsoft could focus on what they do best which is software services and tools. Can't have the partnerships without giving them some hard data... So we had bands and then we didn't but the other guys make better fitness wearables because we had them, so we win either way as long as we see beyond our "fwp" because it's a sickening mindset to have to begin with, I'm over it.
  • The Ionic functions closest to the Band 2, minus the two-way communications capability. But 3-4 day battery life, with color touch screen, GPS, and music through BT are just awesome. Being winter time though, I think the "fitness" gadget that needs to be invented is a way to monitor the body while wearing/converting/adapting the device to be worn OUTSIDE the jacket on the wrist. Would be great to go running or skiing while wearing something on the sleeve...and gaming on the lift. ;-)
  • I honestly don't know why this article war drafted; everyone knows Microsoft doesn't care about consumers so this just adds insult to injury for those of us who wished Microsoft cared more. I've accepted the fact that Satya knows nothing about how to engage consumer so don't expec anything from him.
  • After seeing more images elsewhere, i would thing this would have been designed to be more of a fitness tracker than a smart watch, u less that person just had small hands. Doesn't appear to have a band attachment so i would wager it would strap on the arm or wrist. Since its Xbox branded, probably was going to pair with the Kinect to tie into the fitness hype around the Wii's popularity. Just looks too basic to even be called a primitive smart "watch" and it looks more like a companion device.
  • If Microsoft made a video of all the cool siht they've cancelled, it would be a feature length film and so depressing you'd want to off yourself at the end.
  • Ah... the Microsoft of old was bold, ambitious and dared to challenge the norm. Now.. The sceptic in me sees the more focus on partnerships and less on their own ecosystem  as divergent pathways, one to get more partners into the picture and to cut down cost in order to increase short term quarter to quarter profits. It's a split pathway as by focusing short term profit generation actually alienates your own partners (CES 2018). So Microsoft has now no choice but to invest more resources, CES is prime example how much they have eroded their foothold and mindshare by focusing on competitor ecosystems. With OEM's actually launching Laptops with Alexa and their own sync clients shows Microsoft has utterly failed to take the lead when it comes to their own ecosystem and mobile integration. Many of us saw this happening miles away. For instance we have to languish YoY with a poxy Wp8 sync client that could do fudge all when compared to the feature rich zune client of aeons passed. Microsoft has to put more resources into getting a top notch sync client between the PC and the fabled andromeda device. If they are going to position it as a companion device that has a telephony stack. It's ridiculous that Dell beat them to the punch with a UWP app with a amazing sync capabilities when Microsoft cannot make the mind up the direction they want to take with basic messaging (as I said time and time again, indicative of petty office politics and worst case scenario - incompetency).  I'm not going to sugar coat my words, if Microsoft keeps engaging in layoffs just to keep wall street happy and stock holders at bay then they have lost all sense of direction. They are at the inflection point either they pour resources into Cortana, expand it to more markets, expand Microsoft tap to pay so it's ready for the andromeda device(s) launch, allow the xbox division more freedom to grow, create unique franchises and remaster fan favourites and primarily focus on THEIR OWN ecosystem then they have a chance of not being another cliched example "the next IBM". Saying one thing and doing another is no longer going to fly any longer, everyone can see through it and when your "partners" give up on your own AI platform built natively in the o/s in favour of a competitor, it's time to take a good hard look at yourself and ask yourself, are you a moron or a lackey or both or an individual with tools that can change the world for the better? Only a moron will allow this to happen, a lackey will bend to the wills of stock holders. An individual will stand tall and push a company forward by focusing on their own ecosystem as well as the competition, not one or the either. In order to position footholds and mindshare avenues that will create addtional foothold paths and mindshare events