Microsoft’s wearable resurgence will begin with a commercial smartwatch

microsoft wearable b2b microsoftwearable01
Microsoft
Microsoft has announced its first wearable since it officially canceled the Band 3. Although it doesn’t have a name just yet, we know that it’s aimed at business customers, has a square display, and is fitted within a silicon watch strap. Microsoft hopes it will replace larger handheld devices for tasks such as inventory management and adding automation to guest services.

Ever since Microsoft halted sales of its Band 2 fitness tracker in 2016, it has not been clear whether Microsoft would ever re-enter the market. Its Band 3 was canceled before going on sale and since then not much has been heard of Microsoft’s wearable plans. The unnamed business-to-business smart device, though, could represent the beginning of a return.

Said to be produced by German manufacturer TrekStor, the device will be “compact and intuitive,” according to Microsoft (via MSPowerUser). It will be capable of running Universal Windows applications and will make use of Microsoft’s Azure cloud for services like Microsoft Cognitive Services, which suggests compatibility with applications that leverage artificial intelligence.

Some of the suggested tasks that Microsoft hopes its smartwatch wearable could take over include adding automation in industrial manufacturing, improvements to patient care in healthcare settings, and fleet and asset management.

In short, Microsoft hopes its wearable can replace bulkier, handheld touchscreen devices more commonly used in commercial settings. The device will opt for a much more compact design, offering a 1.54-inch display, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It will support voice messaging and have enough battery life to keep it running for a single day at a time.

All of that hardware will power the Windows 10 IoT Core operating system, an OS designed specifically for devices that operate on the Internet of Things. Microsoft also talked up the device’s security in its breakdown.

Noting that it will be in use by commercial operators and thereby put in harm’s way more often than a consumer device, Microsoft has also made a big deal of its ruggedness. The device will utilize Gorilla Glass 3 for the display and will feature a strong strap and clasp system.

Microsoft didn’t give us any information on pricing or availability but said that it would announce more about the product in the coming months.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Microsoft’s Windows 95 throwback was just an ugly sweater giveaway

Microsoft's "softwear" announcement wasn't what we had hoped for. Thursday's announcement was not the new line of wearable tech or SkiFree monster sweater we wished for. But it did deliver the 90s nostalgia we wanted.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for December 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Outdoors

Conquer the cold season with the best heated clothing and outdoor apparel

If you're thinking about going outside this winter, heated apparel is a must. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best heated clothing, whether you're looking for battery-powered gloves or heated insoles.
Deals

Check out the best Green Monday deals for those last-minute gifts

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you've missed your chance of finding a great deal. We're talking about Green Monday, of course, and it falls on December 10.
Outdoors

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.
Mobile

Google Fit app finally gets a widget, among other new features

Google Fit hasn't received any new features since its redesign. This week, the company is rolling some new tools; users will be able to add a widget to their Android home screen, adjust the intensity of their workouts, and more.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Mobile

New Apple Watch begins saving lives one week after getting EKG feature

The Apple Watch Series 4 was updated almost a week ago with a new feature that allows users to take electrocardiogram tests -- and already it seems like the new feature is saving lives.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Wearables

How to use the ECG app, set up irregular rhythm notifications on the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch Series 4 is the best smartwatch iPhone owners can own, and it just got even better with the addition of the ECG app and ability to identify irregular heart rhythms. Here's how to set it all up.
Home Theater

Common AirPods problems, and how to fix them

Apple’s AirPods are among the best fully wireless earbuds we’ve seen, but they’re not perfect. If you’re having trouble, take a look at our guide to the most common problems and what you can do to fix them.