While Google has officially unveiled its Android Wear operating system for smart watches, Apple isn’t expected to release its long-rumored “iWatch” until this fall. As for Microsoft, the Windows developer is now said to debut its own wearable device before the end of the year.
Microsoft has been rumored to be building a smart watch product of sorts since over a year ago. But it’s only about a month ago that more details about the device came to light, courtesy of Forbes, which reported that it would be similar to Samsung’s Gear Fit (pictured above) and it would sync with Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android as well as Microsoft’s own mobile operating system, Windows Phone.
Now, here comes a new report that effectively corroborates those earlier claims.
According to Paul Thurrott, who runs the Supersite for Windows blog, Microsoft is indeed going to release a wearable device that is more fitness wristband than smart watch, not unlike the Gear Fit.
It’s said to come equipped with multiple sensors for tracking health and fitness figures, including steps, calories burned, and heart rate. It will also be able to work with mobile phone apps, including Microsoft’s own (such as Bing Health & Fitness and Healthvault) and third-party apps.
In addition, Thurrott’s sources say that Microsoft’s device will differ from Apple and Google’s wearables mainly by its being platform-agnostic:
From a differentiation standpoint, Microsoft’s wearable will do something that no other wearable platform does. It will work with everything and not just the device maker’s smart phone platform. Where Samsung wearables only work with Samsung phones, Android Wear devices only work with modern Android devices, and Apple’s rumored iWatch will obviously only work with iPhone, Microsoft will take a different approach. It will work with Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.
Microsoft’s fitness band is reportedly scheduled to be announced and made available in the fourth quarter of this year (as opposed to the device’s earlier reported summer launch) at a price point similar to that of the $200 Gear Fit.
Whether it will bear a Surface, Nokia or altogether different branding is yet unknown.
See also: After Meeting With Apple CEO Tim Cook, Analyst Says iWatch May Feature Voice Messaging, Apple Hires Atlas Wearables’ Lead Software Engineer To Work On “iWatch,” and If You Believe This Survey, Apple’s “iWatch” Could Be A Disaster.