Microsoft’s wearable resurgence will begin with a commercial smartwatch

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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.

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