Windows Smartwatch Imminent; iOS, Android Compatible

John Lister's picture

Rumors suggest that Microsoft is primed to launch its own smartwatch in the next few weeks. Details are still hazy, but it seems it may connect with multiple devices, and not only Windows Phones.

Smartwatches have been one of the big tech stories of 2014, becoming a serious mainstream product after years of hype. Apple is launching its own smartwatch running a modified version of the iPhone software, while firms such as Samsung have produced Android-based watches.

Check Emails at the Flick of a Wrist

Although smartwatches run a mobile operating system, they usually rely on a connection to a mobile phone over Bluetooth. This helps to keep the form factor of the watch down to a minimum, as much of the processing would be carried out by a smartphone.

Usually the watch will display alerts such as text messages or emails that users would normally need to pull out their phone to read. There's often an option to carry out basic Internet searches using voice controls.

While there have been rumors of a Microsoft watch for several months, Forbes now says an official announcement is imminent. It seems it will run Windows-based software, but features will be significantly reduced based on the limited specifications available on a wrist wear gadget. This all ties in with Microsoft's strategy to make Windows the central hub when it comes to bridging the gap between pocket devices, portable computers and desktop PCs. (Source:

Smartwatch Won't Only Work with Windows

According to Forbes, however, one of the main selling points of a Microsoft watch will be that it can communicate with iPhones and Android phones as well as phones running Windows. That could be an important selling point as, with Windows phones relatively unpopular, few people would be persuaded to get one just to be able to make best use of a watch. What isn't clear yet is what, if any, limitations would apply when connecting a "Windows watch" to phones running rival systems.

It also appears battery life will be a key benefit. Insider sources suggest the Microsoft watch could run for more than two days without recharging. That contrasts to most of the major existing smartwatches where the vast majority of users will need to remember to connect it to a charger every night. (Source:

As is becoming common in the sector, the Microsoft watch also looks likely to have fitness tracking features that measure pulse and movement throughout the day. Reports suggest this will draw heavily on the motion sensor technology used in the Kinect feature on the Xbox gaming consoles.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you consider buying a smartwatch? Would it be a pro or con if the smartwatch was based on mobile versions of Windows? Do you think Microsoft has made a clever move in making the watch compatible with smartphone running rival systems?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (6 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

If Microsoft is to survive in the mobile-first market, having their software compatible with other platforms is a must. Apple effectively made a similar move when they made their operating system compatible with Intel processors. In doing so, they broke the hardware barrier, allowing more PC users to dive into Apple's world. The same can be said about Google: their Android operating system is already open source and can be used on almost any hardware.