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Microsoft smartwatch rumors: It will be a fitness band, not a watch

Microsoft smartwatch
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Microsoft looks like it might jump on the wearables bandwagon – and soon. Everyone from Samsung and LG, to Motorola and Apple has either released smartwatches or are reportedly planning to do so soon. Several reports hint that Microsoft will debut its first smartwatch this fall. Here’s everything we think we know about the device so far.

Updated on 07-03-2013 by Malarie Gokey: Added rumored pricing info from Paul Thurrott, release date, and form factor news.

It will have 11 sensors and look like the Gear Fit

According to Forbes, Microsoft has been working on a smartwatch for some time now and has clear plans for the future of the device. The company’s first wearable will reportedly offer two days of battery life and feature a design similar to that of the Samsung Gear Fit. The full-color display will be placed in a bizarre position against the user’s wrist, so that notifications will be more private. Earlier rumors hinted at a small 1.5-inch display, which seems to be verified by Forbes. The article describes the display as “about the size of half a stick of gum.”

Gear Fit Watch front angle
The Microsoft smartwatch may look like the Samsung Gear Fit. Image used with permission by copyright holder

In early July, another report from Paul Thurrott’s Supersite for Windows confirmed rumors that Microsoft’s first wearable won’t look like a smartwatch at all, but more like a circular fitness band. It will also work more like a fitness tracker than a smartwtach.

Previous rumors indicated that the smartwatch might include fitness sensors for monitoring heart rate and other vitals, but did not specify exactly how many will be included. Then, in late June, a new report from Tom’s Hardware stated that Microsoft will include 11 different sensors on the device. The article also hinted that Texas Instruments and Atmel chips may be onboard and confirmed the smartwatch’s unique form factor.

The smartwatch will work with Android and iOS devices

Anonymous sources told Forbes that the device will be compatible with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices. The June report from Tom’s Hardware confirmed that the smartwatch will be OS agnostic and Microsoft will offer open APIs for developers.

If Microsoft merely decided to offer a smartwatch for Windows Phone devices, it would have a very limited market. However, if the company really does make its first wearable open to iOS and Android, it will have a much wider appeal. So far, one of the main problems with Samsung’s wearables, is that the number of devices they work with is extremely limited.

The Kinect team is working on the smartwatch’s OS

The Kinect team from Microsoft’s Xbox division is working on the OS. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Microsoft has its Kinect team working on the operating system for the smartwatch. The Kinect division must create an OS that complies all the sensor data into an easy-to-read interface. Just like all the other upcoming smartwatches, Microsoft’s will have a strong focus on health and fitness. Reports hint that the smartwatch will feature continuous heart rate monitoring, so you never miss a beat.

Microsoft may release it this fall

Previously, Forbes indicated that Microsoft could debut the smartwatch as early as this summer, but an anonymous source told Tom’s Hardware that the device will arrive in October. Paul Thurrott stated that the fitness wearable will arrive in the fourth quarter of this year and be priced like the Samsung Gear Fit, which ranges from $150-$200, depending on where you get it.

Previous updates:

Updated on 07-01-2013 by Malarie Gokey: Added new information about sensors, specs, and release date.

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Malarie Gokey
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Mobile Editor, Malarie runs the Mobile and Wearables sections, which cover smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and…
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