Microsoft to gear up its own smartwatch -- report

The watch will sync with iPhones, Android devices, and Windows Phone handsets and could launch as early as this summer, says Forbes.

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A Microsoft smartwatch would reportedly resemble Samsung's Galaxy Gear Fit. Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft may be aiming to carve out a slice of the growing smartwatch market.

The software giant is prepping a smartwatch that will monitor your heart rate and sync with iOS and Android devices as well as Windows Phone handsets, Forbes said on Thursday, citing "multiple sources with knowledge of the company's plans." The actual launch date for the watch is still up in the air, but Microsoft is reportedly angling for a summer release.

Physically, the watch would resemble Samsung's Gear Fit with a full-color touch screen viewable on the inside of your wrist. The battery would hold enough juice to last for two days, about on par with the Gear Fit. The device would purportedly be able to monitor your heart rate throughout the day, the sources added.

A spokesman for Microsoft told Forbes that the company has nothing to share. Microsoft also gave CNET a "no comment" response when asked about the smartwatch report.

Assuming the information is accurate, Microsoft would be the latest big tech player to jump onto the smartwatch bandwagon. Such major vendors as Samsung and Sony have already launched their own high-tech watches. Motorola and LG are next in line. Reports say Apple will finally enter the market with its much-rumored iWatch later this year.

But to differentiate their products, companies are increasingly combining the features of a smartwatch with those of an activity tracker. Samsung's Gear Fit attempts to pull off the dual role, while Apple's iWatch will purportedly offer health and fitness benefits by tapping into a mobile app called Healthbook.

Based on Forbes' intel, Microsoft also is apparently eyeing the interest in health-related data as a way to appeal to smartwatch buyers. The device would correlate readings from its on-board sensors with software to provide more accurate results on your heart rate and fitness, according to the sources. The added kicker is that Microsoft's product would reportedly be able to continuously monitor your heart rate without you having to flip a switch.

Smartwatches have yet to truly take off among consumers. But the debut of both a Microsoft smartwatch and an Apple iWatch this year would certainly boost this burgeoning market.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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