When Microsoft bought Nokia, many of its more adventurous future projects were scrapped — its Android-based smartphones quickly faded away, for example. Now it seems Microsoft killed a much more intriguing project: a smartwatch. Apparently, the Moonraker looked like a colorful version of the Apple Watch and ran Windows. It wasn’t a concept — it was a device, and it was ready to go to market, until Microsoft killed it.
Related: Read our Microsoft band review
The first images of the Moonraker were spotted by noted leaker Evan Blass, formerly known as Evleaks, on the Tumblr blog of Microsoft designer Pei-Chi Hsieh. They’ve since been removed, but anonymous sources familiar with Nokia’s plans for the smartwatch told the Verge the images are genuine, and they were intended for use in a marketing campaign. The device seen in the images is not a mock up, but an actual Moonraker watch.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) June 12, 2015
Apparently, working prototypes of the device were even shown to select customers at Mobile World Congress in 2014. The sources say that Nokia was planning to launch the smartwatch alongside the Lumia 930, but then Microsoft acquired the company, and killed the idea. The company reportedly shot down the Windows-based smartwatch in favor of its own Microsoft Band, which has more sensors and capabilities than the Moonraker.
Nokia had added a number of sensors that allowed the watch face to turn on when the user raised their arm to look at it, and turn it off when the user lowered their arm. The Moonraker ran the same “Metro” interface as Windows Phone, and supported email, phone, and messaging apps. It included a camera remote, Facebook, and MixRadio to round out the apps selection. The device itself sported a square screen with customizable watch faces and several straps in typical Nokia colors: neon green, orange, and black.
All in all, the Moonraker looks much more appealing to the eye in these renders than the Microsoft Band, which was summarily condemned for a complete lack of style, even though its functionality was right on the money. It seems unlikely the Moonraker will ever arrive in the way Nokia intended, but Microsoft could very well incorporate certain design elements from the watch into a future version of the Band.