Could a Microsoft smartwatch succeed?
According to Forbes, Microsoft is preparing to launch a smartwatch in the coming weeks. Forbes says the device will "passively track a wearer’s heart rate and work across different mobile platforms". So the good news is it won’t be tied to Windows Phone which only has a tiny 2.5 percent share of the mobile market.
A device that isn’t tied to the one platform is a very smart move for Microsoft. Apple Watch will probably be the device that propels smartwatches into the mainstream, but it requires wearers to have an iPhone. Android smartwatches connect to Android mobiles. If you switch from one platform to another -- move from Android to iOS for example -- you’ll need to buy a different watch. Microsoft’s device could solve that problem. There are other benefits too.
According to Forbes, Microsoft's watch will "boast a battery life of more than two days of regular use". That could be a killer feature if true. No one wants to have to charge a smartwatch on a daily basis, let alone a couple of times a day. Will.i.am’s smartwatch that’s not a watch, the Puls, is set to give just five hours of continuous use, which is a bit rubbish.
Of course whether Microsoft's new device will be a success of not relies on a lot of things that we have absolutely no information about at the moment. What will it look like, for example? How much will it cost? And what features will it offer? A watch that tracks a wearer’s heart rate doesn’t sound hugely exciting, although it really depends on what the companion app does with that information. If the device doesn’t do much beyond tell the time and report on your heart rate that would explain the long battery life.
The truth is, if Microsoft wants to get in to the wearables market, a health tracker is the way to do it. Attempting a game changing smartwatch would be a folly at this point, but the tech giant could easily build quality platform-agnostic wearables and steal a decent chunk of what promises to be a growing market, all without taking crazy, and unnecessary risks.