According to a report in Forbes, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) in the next few weeks will launch a smart watch that will be able to track users' heart rates and will be able to work with Windows Phone devices as well as Android and iOS devices. Importantly, the smart watch will reportedly have more than two days of battery life.
If the report proves accurate, Microsoft will be the latest entrant into the wild west market of wearables, a market that ranges from Google's Glass eyewear to smart watches from the likes of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Samsung and others. A smart watch from Microsoft would also fit into the company's new strategy of building its own devices rather than waiting for its licensees to do so. Microsoft launched its hardware strategy in earnest with its Surface line of tablets and solidified it with the purchase of Nokia's Lumia-branded smartphone business.
Forbes reported in May that Microsoft was working on a smart watch. It's unclear what Microsoft will call its watch or how much it will cost.
Although the space is still in its infancy--and consumer demand remains unclear--there are already a range of smart watches on the market. For example, startup Pebble offers smart watches starting at $99, while Motorola's Moto 360 smart watch costs $250 and features a sleek design and Google's Android Wear operating system. The Timex IronMan One GPS+ costs $400 and connects to AT&T's 3G network.
Apple, for its part, plans to start selling its new Apple Watch sometime early next year--conspicuously missing the fourth quarter holiday shopping season. Apple Watch will connect to users' iPhones and can display notifications and run third-party applications. It's unclear exactly how the Apple Watch battery will perform, but Apple has suggested that users will need to recharge the device every night. Like Microsoft's rumored smart watch, Apple's watch can track users' heart rates. However, the Apple Watch can only work with iPhones.
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