Microsoft plans to release its own smartwatch with 11 sensors as soon as October, according to tech news site Tom’s Hardware. Tom’s Hardware received its information from an unidentified source.
The report from Tom’s Hardware explains that the Microsoft smartwatch is using chips from Texas Instruments and Atmel. The smartwatch’s display will be on the inside of the user’s wrist instead of the outside because, according to the source, it’s more natural for users to look there. The source adds that Microsoft’s smartwatch will look like a slimmer version of the Nike+ FuelBand, an activity tracker that Nike appears to be slowly phasing out, given that the company let go as many as 55 members of its Nike+ FuelBand team a few months back.
Some details about the rumored device were similar to those that Forbes published about the Microsoft smartwatch at the end of May. Both reports expect the smartwatch to offer continuous heart rate tracking, which few smartwatches currently include as a feature. They also both expect the Microsoft device to work across mobile platforms so that it not only syncs with Windows phones, but also iPhones and Android devices.
Forbes did include one extra detail — that the optical engineering team from Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect division will contribute to the project. The Kinect device itself has been used as a digital health tool in various healthcare contexts, including physical therapy, virtual visits, fall prevention, and autism screening and therapy.
It’s likely Microsoft’s smartwatch will also integrate data into Bing Health and Fitness, an app it announced last summer that tracks diet, health and exercise. That app syncs to Microsoft HealthVault, which brings in data from other health trackers like blood glucose monitors, electronic scales, and activity and medical monitors.
While Microsoft has been working on digital health products for many years, just last week the company announced a new accelerator class that will be focused entirely on health startups. Microsoft expects this to be a one-off, health-focused class of startups and it doesn’t plan to host another health-focused accelerator program again.
So far this year, rumors have surfaced that in the fall consumers can expect smartwatches from several larger companies. While MobiHealthNews has expected Apple’s iWatch for a while, recently Samsung announced that it is working on an investigational device called the Simband, and last week a letter from the SEC suggested Adidas might soon add a new activity tracker to its product line, a wristworn wearable called the miCoach Fit Smart.