Tag: microsoft wearable technology

Smartwatch potential from Microsoft could create serious competition

Although the wearable technology hasn’t been confirmed by the tech giant, it could be a meaningful play.

If rumors are correct, then Microsoft will be the next giant to enter into the smartwatch marketplace, with the Surface Watch to be released at some point, likely this year.

The technology news to watch will be the importance of this play in the overall market.

At the moment, there are already a large number of smartwatch devices that have made their way into the market, and there is more than a handful ready to launch before the end of the summer. This can make it very challenging for any single device to stand out and for later additions to carve their way into an already crowded ecosystem. That said, among this considerable crowd of devices, it seems to have been missed that there are very few apps for wearables, which makes it difficult to build a solid appeal for mainstream customers.

Without the apps, it is challenging to show consumers that a smartwatch is worth the added expense.

Smartwatch - MicrosoftA recent BI Intelligence report suggested that the entire wearables app ecosystem is experiencing some significant fragmentation. The cause of this problem is that every new device that is added to the marketplace runs on a platform that is shared by very few others. As of yet, there is little standard in the experience provided by smart gadgets.

Without a dominant operating system or two, or three, it makes it difficult for mobile app developers to come up with a pool of applications that is sizeable enough to make it worthwhile for the average consumer to drop a few hundred dollars on a device that is essentially a nifty accessory to go with his or her smartphone and/or tablet.

That said, BI Intelligence pointed out that Microsoft may be able to stand out from among much of its competition by providing a smartwatch that is not limited in that way. Instead, it could provide cross-platform functionality so that it would function with both Android and iOS platforms as well as with the Xbox One and with desktop PCs.

Smartwatches may be Microsoft’s next big play

The company has now filed for a patent for this type of wearable technology device.

It looks as though Microsoft is looking into becoming another player in the smartwatches game, as the U.S. Patent Office has now publically released an application that was made by the software giant for a design that could place the company in competition against Samsung, Google, and potentially Apple (whenever it makes its own entry into the market).

This application was just released last week, though it was initially filed back in October 2012.

The Microsoft application details various plans for a type of wristwatch that could be used as a music player, a fitness tracker, a messaging device, and to make phone calls. The face for these smartwatches would be able to detach from their bands in order to connect it to a charger. If the company is, indeed, pursuing wearable technology (and this patent application would suggest that it is), the Microsoft will be joining the companies that are making a rather late entry into the market, as Apple is doing.

Other smartwatches have not only been on the market for a while, but they have had multiple generations.

The Galaxy Gear wearable technology, and the Pebble, are good examples of devices that have now had the opportunity to start to build a customer base, to market themselves, and to release more than one version of the device as a better understanding of the use and the tech is created. Another large participant in this market will be Google, when the Moto 360 is released in the United States, this summer. Rumors of Apple’s wearables have been circulating for ages, but as is the tradition from that company, nothing official has been heard about a specific device.smartwatches - wearable tech

There is also existing competition outside of the giants in the industry, as many startups have been creating their own devices that have started to become popular. Pebble may have only been a startup, but it is still grouped among the serious players as it managed to sell 400,000 of its devices in 2013.

The patent doesn’t make it clear exactly what Microsoft’s smartwatches will be or even if they will be released to the public. As of the time of the writing of this article, the company had yet to release a statement on the matter.