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Print 41 comment(s) - last by CZroe.. on Apr 19 at 2:51 PM

It's looking to keep up with Apple and Samsung

Many people already carry a laptop, smartphone or tablet (or sometimes, all three), so what will the next must-have gadget be? Tech companies say wearable tech, and Microsoft doesn't plan on missing the boat. 

Microsoft is reportedly looking into the development of a smart watch this year. While there are no solid details on the gadget at this time, The Wall Street Journal said Microsoft has contacted Asian suppliers about it and has requested a 1.5-inch display from component makers. 

Microsoft will likely use its own hardware (much like the Surface tablet) and run the Windows 8 operating system on the smart watch. 

There's no word on a release date yet, but Microsoft might want to get an early start since Apple and Samsung are already developing smart watches of their own. Both Apple and Samsung beat Microsoft when it comes to smartphone and tablet market share, so if the Windows creator wants any chance of competing in this new tech sector, it better beat the two big boys to the punch.


Rumors of an Apple smart watch started circulating earlier this year. Apple has reportedly been talking with manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. about the new device, and Hon Hai has been working on new technologies for wearable devices (such as more efficient displays and chips at that size).

Apple filed a patent for a "Bi-stable spring with flexible display" in 2011, which described a bi-stable spring that would be made out of thin steel and wrapped in fabric covering, then heat-sealed. The display would be located on one side of the bracelet (overlaid with an adhesive) and the logic board and battery would be placed on the other side. It also showed a universal fit, a plethora of onboard sensors, wireless charging, etc.

Apple's watch is expected to be released later this year.

As for Samsung, which is the king of Android-powered hardware products, a smart watch (which will likely run a version of Android) is expected to be released as soon as this year. No details have leaked about the product, but Samsung is looking to keep up with Apple.

While making it to the finish line first will benefit either Samsung or Apple, Samsung could also have the upper hand when it comes to pricing, since it makes its own chips and displays. Apple is notorious for having much higher-priced items.

Microsoft is hoping to be a major competitor too, though, since it was late to the tablet game. Microsoft just released its first tablet last October -- the Surface -- and the device has seen poor sales and harsh criticism of its Windows RT operating system (the version of Windows 8 for ARM-based tablets). To help the Surface with Windows 8 Pro (the full Windows 8 version), Microsoft is now marketing it as a PC while referring to the Surface with Windows RT as a tablet.

Just last week, it was reported that Microsoft plans to create a whole new batch of Surface tablets, which includes a 7-inch version

Microsoft had launched a smart watch a decade ago, but the gadget flopped.

Source: The Wall Street Journal



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RE: what is the prupose
By GulWestfale on 4/15/2013 1:09:48 PM , Rating: 2
no, i don't. i have bluetooth for when i'm driving, and i don't need to facebook while i'm mowing the lawn.


RE: what is the prupose
By Milliamp on 4/15/2013 1:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
You can run bluetooth on the watch. You don't need to facebook when mowing the lawn but you might want to skip the song you are on or change playlists or volume without getting your phone out. You may not have a need for these things but I definitely do.

My biggest need for one comes from driving a motorcycle.


RE: what is the prupose
By xti on 4/15/2013 1:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
i would love facebook while mowing the lawn... would keep me entertained in the hot sun.


RE: what is the prupose
By Samus on 4/15/2013 1:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
*not to be used while operating machinery

;)


RE: what is the prupose
By quiksilvr on 4/15/2013 7:21:45 PM , Rating: 2
Kind of off topic, I'm all for a smart watch so long as the price is right ($50 would be the max for me), but please pretty please don't use this when driving A MOTORCYCLE. It's already precarious enough driving a motorcycle.

The last thing I need to see when driving 70 mph on a freeway is a motorcyclist taking their hand off one of the handles to push on a watch on their other hand. Why not get something you can strap around the handle that can do this instead and you can easily make adjustments with your thumb?


RE: what is the prupose
By CZroe on 4/15/2013 1:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
It can tell you when you are leaving your phone behind. It can vibrate against your skin while the phone is on silent. You can identify and reject a call in situations where you don't want those around you to know you even checked it (formal dinner, important business meeting, patient/client session, etc). I have a Bluetooth helmet kit that reads me CallerID but I still use the watch on my motorcycle to change music tracks because (I can push buttons with a glove but I can't use the touch screen even if it's mounted on the handlebars).

Also, you can tell who is calling or read a text without needlessly pulling out your phone (risking dropping it).


RE: what is the prupose
By BRB29 on 4/15/13, Rating: -1
RE: what is the prupose
By CZroe on 4/15/2013 6:17:39 PM , Rating: 3
Uhh, it's ATTACHED to you and makes you LESS likely to lose or damage your more important device (alarms when disconnected).

I'd love to know how your thought process arrives at the exact conclusion.


RE: what is the prupose
By CZroe on 4/15/2013 6:19:47 PM , Rating: 3
Exact opposite of reality. Read again.


RE: what is the prupose
By spaced_ on 4/16/2013 3:10:52 AM , Rating: 1
Agreed with BRB29.

Unless you plan on not showering, taking a bath, going to the beach and having a swim, or other activities I haven't yet thought of.

Additionally, back when watches were actually useful (in the 80s/90s) if you wear the damn thing too much you get this annoying tan line on your arm. Plus it can get all grotty under the watch when the sweat builds up.

I think the other repliers perhaps are very smelly and pale individuals. Microsoft should ensure the watches are snow white to match their complexion, assuming Apple doesn't already own a design patent on a white smart watch.


RE: what is the prupose
By CZroe on 4/16/2013 3:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
What makes you assume that you can't wear it in water? I do. Hell, I've even showered in it with my Sony Ericsson MBW-150.

Yes, it leaves a pale band on my tan arm. So what? You can't see it under the watch and I am always wearing a watch. Hell, I sometimes wear them in the shower too so I can clean under it. Even if you don't: Have you ever lost your cellphone because you failed to take it in the shower with you?! *rolls eyes*

The ONLY activity it has impacted in three years is pretty specific: In a particular storage room I am forced to turn around backwards to use my other arm to reach between poorly-placed shelves in order to flip the light switch (not enough room to fit my wrist + the watch).


RE: what is the prupose
By BRB29 on 4/19/2013 10:54:45 AM , Rating: 2
Because i wear different watches with different outfits.
Because I can't wear watches while working out(heavy lifting)
Because carrying 2 phones, a watch, a tablet, a laptop is too many accessories.
Because going through security(everyday) is a hassle with too much crap on your body.
Because the only time it will be very useful to me(3 mile run outside) the screen will not be bright enough against the sun light
Because you have to carry a phone for it to sync with it.
Because it's not a large enough screen to read anything
Because I can just access my phone for email, music, videos, work stuff, etc... instead of squinting for a tiny watch screen
Because it's dumb to pay hundreds of dollars for redundant functions

This thing is like a smaller ipod touch on your wrist. Just make a squared ipod nano and sell a wrist band accessory with it.


RE: what is the prupose
By CZroe on 4/19/2013 2:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Because i wear different watches with different outfits."
The patents show Apple's as being a band like a slap-bracelet with a flexible display completely wrapping around your hand including sensors to tell where the band overlaps (where the displayed image will need to break/start or continue). If true, you can change the style as you see fit. Also, no one is forcing you to stop wearing other watches when you want to. I switch between a traditional watch, a Sony Ericsson MBW150 Music Edition, and an MBW-200 Executive watch. All have replaceable watch bands for whatever look I want. It dounds like you are just looking for things to hate/criticize.

"Because I can't wear watches while working out(heavy lifting)"
Then don't. No one is forcing you to wear a traditional watch while you work out/lift.

"Because carrying 2 phones, a watch, a tablet, a laptop is too many accessories."
Here's an idea: Don't carry any more than you want to. The watch helps you avoid handling a phone. Heck, it may help you manage both phones. Someone making a smart watch doesn't force you to carry a second phone, a tablet, a laptop, etc. and you choosing to carry all that doesn't mean it is any less useful to me or anyone else.

"Because going through security(everyday) is a hassle with too much crap on your body."
It's no more hassle than a traditional wristwatch.

"Because the only time it will be very useful to me(3 mile run outside) the screen will not be bright enough against the sun light"
That's an awfully stupid assumption. You have NO IDEA what display technology they will use. Casio uses the same segmented LCD display as any digital watch. My MBW150 and 200 have traditional watch faces. The tiny little monochrome OLED display is MORE visible in daylight than the segmented LCD screens on most watches. The Pebble uses an e-ink display that is BETTER in direct sunlight. I haven't used my full-color Live View enough to know how well it works in direct sunlight, but it's OLED too.

"Because you have to carry a phone for it to sync with it."
Are you seriously going there? My watch is still a watch when I turn off my phone or leave it at home. Other watches are never anything more.

The MBW150 Music Edition is my personal choice. The people who don't assume that it's just a watch actually assume that it's just a *really nice* watch. Yes, complete strangers who describe themselves as "enthusiasts" and "watch-guys" have stopped to admire and comment on my watch without ever realizing that it wasn't a traditional analog watch. I work at a gate that puts me in contact with a lot of strangers daily. My point it that it is a watch FIRST and continues functioning as one without being connected to a phone.

"Because it's not a large enough screen to read anything
Because I can just access my phone for email, music, videos, work stuff, etc... instead of squinting for a tiny watch screen
Because it's dumb to pay hundreds of dollars for redundant functions"
Sounds like you are confused about the purpose. You aren't going to browse the web on the damned thing: You are going to identify a caller and/or reject a call (same as Jabra BT8010 with caller ID). You are going to wonder what song is playing and see the artist (no different than looking at an MP3 player display). You are going to wonder what time it is and see the time/date (like a traditional watch). You are going to set a silent alarm and not wonder if you simply didn't feel the vibration in your pocket. Say what you will about redundant functions, but they have their place. Risking my phone to see the exact time 100 times a day (my work requires constant outdoor log entries) is out of the question. I don't see anyone saying that an tablet or a notebook PC is redundant because their phone has the time on it too! Next: You have no idea what prices or options will be available. It's an extremely varied market already. I paid $50 for my MBW150, $60 for the MBW200, and $25 for my Live View. Yes, the Live View is normally $50-$80 and the MBW150 was $450 in 2007, but economies of scale apply to these new products.

"This thing is like a smaller ipod touch on your wrist. Just make a squared ipod nano and sell a wrist band accessory with it."
I've actually been suggesting that they add Bluetooth and iOS connectivity with the obvious features all along... give people with your other product a reason to own it by adding complementary features. Otherwise, an iPhone or iPod Touch user has no reason to buy an iPod nano. The thing is, there is no reason for the watch to have any significant storage at all... unless it pools storage with the phone in your pocket.


RE: what is the prupose
By FaaR on 4/15/2013 2:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
It's winter. You're outside, it's cold as hell, you're wearing gloves. Open up jacket, pull gloves off, get phone out of pants pocket, fiddle with it to check time/see who texted me/whatever? No thank you, ma'am. I'd rather not! ...All that, versus just looking at my wrist? Yeah. Much prefer that. Phone can stay in the pocket, until I really need to use it.


"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg














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