Microsoft Smartwatch: Two day battery life, works with any smartphone

 

 

Smartwatch image from Microsoft patent filing

We've heard the whispers for some time that Microsoft was working on wearable technology, specifically a watch. We have even seen a patent pop-up that shows that Microsoft is indeed working on such a device, and now a new report is shining a little bit more light on Microsoft’s plans.

According to Forbes that cites its own unnamed sources, Microsoft’s smartwatch will work with all the major smartphone platforms and will continuously monitor your heart rate. The battery life is said to be targeted at lasting two days without needing to be recharged.

Like many recent Microsoft projects, the company is said to have reached across its engineering team to tap into internal expertise for the software that will be utilized. The report states that optical engineers from the Kinect division, designers and data scientists have created a software that will be used for the device.

Wearable’s have become a big trend recently with the likes of Fitbits and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear watches making lots of noise in the emerging market. Apple is rumored to be toying in this arena as well, and there is another obvious player in Google Glass.

For Microsoft, this will not be their first attempt at a smartwatch; many years ago, the company had its SPOT (smart personal object technology) software built in to the devices. While we expect a much more advanced user interface and more modern design with the new watch, the principles of the device remain largely unchanged.

Timing for the launch of the watch is still unclear; it could debut as early as this summer, but no hard timeframes were noted. Naturally, with any new product, timeframes can be tough to lockdown as each piece of the manufacturing puzzle takes time to mature and then rigorous testing of the new devices can raise issues as well.  

Source: Forbes | Image via Microsoft

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48 Comments

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I am just not very interested in wearable tech voluntarily. I can see where it may help in medical and fitness or perhaps research, but the devices just collect too much personal data about your life.

We have seen how much personal information is collected and stored indefinitely over the past year by both governments and corporate interests, and I would expect them to seize upon the opportunity to know your biometrics as well for who knows what purposes.

No thank you... I don't feel like being tagged like a piece of cattle with a smartwatch. My phone already knows too much as it is today.

At least Microsoft is taking under consideration the battery life and interoperability, which Samsung doesn't consider in their current smartwatch implementation.

Although 2 days seems still a bit short, it's much better than what the competition offer (well except Pebble which I have and enjoy since the Kickstarter). Too bad the Pebble doesn't have official support on WP.

Hello,

I am looking forward to this, but more because it means external devices will get more functionality with Windows Phone. Right now, there's not exactly a lot of customization options available for devices which connect to Windows Phone via Bluetooth.

Many headsets, for example, have apps on Android and iOS that allow you to customize the functionality of buttons.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Well some of the other watches only get a day. I'm not sold on the idea either. My watch goes on forever because it doesn't even have a battery.

deadonthefloor said,

On par with Galaxy Gear

But this is not math: - + - is not equal to +. Years ago I bought a Fossil watch and paid for the service as well but never used the watch. Personally I am not interested in this nee rush toward smartwatches: If I run I have my Lumia for music, tracking distance etc. Everything else I will keep wearing my Rolex....

Chikairo said,
I'm sort of curious why eInk isn't more popular for these. It works well, sips power, etc.

This is a very good point.

Knowing this will be approved by Satya Nadella first before its launched or released gives me a lot of assurance somehow that it will be a quality product.

StandingInAlley said,
Knowing this will be approved by Satya Nadella first before its launched or released gives me a lot of assurance somehow that it will be a quality product.

You do realise these projects started way before Sataya became CEO, right?? And mayor design and functionality were checked off so they could continue on a certain path to production?

I'll probably be looking to pick up a smart watch in July (I'll be getting a new phone at the end of June) My next phone will almost certainly be Android based (hoping something good launches at Google I/O) but it's good to see a MS watch might still be an option for me. Should be interesting to see where things stand at that point.

Cool to see what the guys at Redmond come up with.

I'm not sold on the whole smartwatch idea, but if MS can come up with a good looking design and smart software, they could have a hit.

Making it compatible with any smartphone is a huge advantage in my opinion. I wouldn't want to buy an accessory that is locked to one platform if I can help it.

If it really works with any smart phone, that could be the difference between life and death for this new gadget. A 2-day battery life is pretty good too.

Though I still don't understand who would want one of these things or how they can be more useful than just pulling out your phone. At least Microsoft is trying to remove some of the barriers to entry, which is always a good thing.

There are times when pulling out your phone is impractical or dangerous. If you've got your phone in your pocket while driving, it's not easy or safe to get to, even at a red light. A quick glance or tap at a device on your wrist is faster & safer.

Not that I'm hugely interested in a smartwatch, but I can see some value to them. I'm just not keen on having an expensive device exposed on my wrist. My watches get dinged and scratched up very bad. I'm not sure I'd want to invest in something like this.

spacer said,
If it really works with any smart phone, that could be the difference between life and death for this new gadget. A 2-day battery life is pretty good too.

Though I still don't understand who would want one of these things or how they can be more useful than just pulling out your phone. At least Microsoft is trying to remove some of the barriers to entry, which is always a good thing.

+1 on this. This is the reason why I use almost all Microsoft services whether its OneDrive, Outlook or Skype or Ms Office since it works across all devices easily. I'm currently using an Android phone and Surface Pro and have no problems with any MS services. MS made a very smart choice.

A 2-day battery is not good, and we (their customers) have to stop allowing them to get away with this.

Or maybe I'm spoiled by owning a Pebble, which easily lasts a week before needing to be recharged.

Right now, battery life is my biggest gripe with our modern devices. I'd buy a phone that's twice as thick if it meant an increase in battery life. Lasting barely a day is just sad.

DConnell said,
There are times when pulling out your phone is impractical or dangerous. If you've got your phone in your pocket while driving, it's not easy or safe to get to, even at a red light. A quick glance or tap at a device on your wrist is faster & safer.

I just don't recall a time when being available to anyone and everyone was so...required.

You present an interesting use case, but I'd just counter by saying: wait until you get to your destination to check your notifications.

I just don't see a smartwatch appealing to a large market like smartphones have done. In other words, I'm not sure anyone is going to convince many folks who don't wear watches to start wearing their watch. People who already wear a wrist watch, on the other hand...

You're right - there's not much that can't wait until you can at least pull over. And I have a Bluetooth speakerphone that lets me answer my phone without touching it, and reads my messages to me. Little reason to dig for my phone.

Even if I'm using the MP3 player or GPS app, I still have it in easy reach and won't be digging.

I do wear a watch, but I'm not convinced that there's enough use for this for me to spend the money and have something that expensive exposed on my wrist. I'm rough on watches, so I have no illusions about a smartwatch surviving long with me.

Shadrack said,
......anyone is going to convince many folks who don't wear watches to start wearing their watch. People who already wear a wrist watch, on the other hand...

Exactly.
I haven't worn a watch in two decades.
The whole wearable fad is lost on me.

cyberdrone2000 said,
A 2-day battery is not good, and we (their customers) have to stop allowing them to get away with this.

Or maybe I'm spoiled by owning a Pebble, which easily lasts a week before needing to be recharged.

Right now, battery life is my biggest gripe with our modern devices. I'd buy a phone that's twice as thick if it meant an increase in battery life. Lasting barely a day is just sad.

Agreed. Batterylife for these kind of devices should last at least a couple of weeks.
For a watch with smart functionalilty to succeed with a greater adience, this has to happen. Why get this when you have to charge it every day?

I have a (semi)smart watch (Suunto) that lasts a year on a simple coin battery, so no worries on batterylife. Agreed this has no Wifi,BT or other connectors, but still...

I would like something like this, and with all the fitness gadgetry inside, but batterylife... o boy...

Dutchie64 said,

I have a (semi)smart watch (Suunto) that lasts a year on a simple coin battery, so no worries on batterylife. Agreed this has no Wifi,BT or other connectors, but still...

What else makes it smart?

cyberdrone2000 said,
A 2-day battery is not good, and we (their customers) have to stop allowing them to get away with this.

Or maybe I'm spoiled by owning a Pebble, which easily lasts a week before needing to be recharged.

Right now, battery life is my biggest gripe with our modern devices. I'd buy a phone that's twice as thick if it meant an increase in battery life. Lasting barely a day is just sad.

It's not that big of a deal for me, my phone doesn't last a week. I charge it each night, I can do the same with a smart watch, my only thing is that I would want it to have wireless charging so that I can just lay it on my nightstand each night just as I do my regular watch.

Bet Windows Phone support will be the worst of all supported platforms. Is currently the case for Skype and the non-existent Xbox support so there is precedent

efjay said,
Bet Windows Phone support will be the worst of all supported platforms. Is currently the case for Skype and the non-existent Xbox support so there is precedent

I have used xbox support a few times, and have had no problems. Never needed windows support.

It simply doesnt support xbone. At all. Cant see your xbone achievement or activity, on both the wp8 and w8 xbox hubs. 6 months after release.

dopydope said,
It simply doesnt support xbone. At all. Cant see your xbone achievement or activity, on both the wp8 and w8 xbox hubs. 6 months after release.

Oh, that's something different. Not specific to Windows Phone. Doesn't even work on their web site. Very sad that they haven't gotten that working yet.

Still not very interested in these sorts of things, but nice that they're taking all major platforms into account right out of the box versus tying it to just one. That's a nice plus.

Max Norris said,
Still not very interested in these sorts of things, but nice that they're taking all major platforms into account right out of the box versus tying it to just one. That's a nice plus.

They just need to add wireless chargling to this and it will make it the watch to have.

Max Norris said,
Still not very interested in these sorts of things, but nice that they're taking all major platforms into account right out of the box versus tying it to just one. That's a nice plus.

Agreed. Don't like being tied to one platform. If I switch, I want to make sure what I have still works and not have to buy new/different. So that is a huge plus to lots.

Still looking forward to more info on the Moto 360. Not sure if that is tied to one platform, but Samsung's wearables are. Except for maybe a Tizen watch some time.

Max Norris said,
Still not very interested in these sorts of things, but nice that they're taking all major platforms into account right out of the box versus tying it to just one. That's a nice plus.

I wear a watch everyday, so it may as well be a smart one. I'm more than happy to take the extra features that a smart watch would provide. Just make sure I can place it on a flat wireless charger on my night stand each night, and I'm ready to jump in.