Microsoft’s smartwatch has long been rumored as a device that competes with Android Wear, Samsung’s Gear watches, and any future hardware from Apple, but it might not take the form of a watch. Windows watcher Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft’s smartwatch will actually be a fitness wristband with multiple sensors designed to track steps, calories burned, and heart rate. Thurrott’s report matches similar recent rumors of a Microsoft smartwatch that continuously measures heart rate through the day and night.
Images in a recent patent filing from Microsoft could offer an early glimpse at where the company is heading with its fitness band. The patent filing from May includes hardware that resembles a fitness band with icons for running and heart rate. Thurrott suggests Microsoft will price its fitness band at a similar price to the Samsung Gear Fit, which debuted earlier this year for $199. Microsoft’s fitness band will also reportedly display smartphone notifications, and work with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
Working across all major smartphone operating systems could be the key differentiator for Microsoft against the competition, as Android Wear only works with Android phones, and Samsung’s wearables are designed for Samsung phones. Apple’s rumored "iWatch" will presumably be designed exclusively for its iPhone and iPad devices, leaving a gap for Microsoft to try and fill. Thurrott claims Microsoft’s wearable fitness band will be announced and sold in the fourth quarter of 2014.