A working version of the canceled Xbox smartwatch surfaces

xbox smartwatch operating system
Smartwatches have proven to be big business for Apple in recent years, but Microsoft’s attempts to carve out a slice of the market haven’t been anywhere near as lucrative. The Band and its successor the Band 2 came and went, and few were too disappointed when the line was quietly retired. Now, new images of the company’s attempt to create an Xbox smartwatch have been leaked to the internet.

In September, we were given a glimpse of what could have been when a prototype version of an Xbox smartwatch was uncovered. Much like the Apple Watch, it consisted of a small digital watch face that would presumably be compatible with various different straps. This week, images demonstrating the device’s operating system have been released.

A hands-on with the Xbox smartwatch reveals that it would have been an activity tracker along the lines of a Fitbit, according to Engadget. Tiles reminiscent of the video game system’s interface would have been used to switch between tabs for workouts, heart rate monitoring functionality, and GPS tracking.

It’s thought that Microsoft was working on the Xbox smartwatch in 2013, just as smartwatches were beginning to hit the public consciousness. This was around the time that the Pebble Kickstarter campaign vastly overperformed, accruing some $10 million in backer donations and demonstrating the massive audience for this kind of device.

Microsoft would later shift its attention to the Band project, which was officially unveiled in October 2014 and retired in October 2016. The Band was marketed as a fitness device but possessed other smartwatch functionality that doesn’t seem to have been present in the Xbox-branded prototype, which may suggest that the companies priorities shifted somewhat during the development process.

Since the Band was phased out, Microsoft seems to have cooled on the smartwatch market. Given that the company has seemed unwilling to expand its video game interests into portable hardware to compete with Nintendo and Sony’s devices, it is interesting to see that Xbox brand used in this way. While this particular project never saw the light of day, perhaps we will see the Xbox line expand into other categories in the future.

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