Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) could soon jump into the wearable device market with a smart watch that is loaded with sensors and works with Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhones, Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android phones and Microsoft's own Windows Phones, according to a report from Forbes.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said the gadget will draw on optical engineering expertise from Microsoft's Xbox Kinect unit for one feature that will continuously measure a user's heart rate throughout the day. The report also said the watch's battery will last for two days, about the same as Samsung Electronics' Gear Fit device, which came out earlier this year.
It's unclear when Microsoft will release the watch, but it could be as soon as this summer. Microsoft declined to comment, according to Forbes.
The report added that the device will look similar to the Gear Fit and will have a color touchscreen about the size of half a stick of gum, but positioned on the inside of the user's wrist, which could be an effort to make it easier and more private to view notifications.
By allowing the watch to work with iOS and Android, Microsoft would be expanding the addressable market for the device, since its Windows Phone platform only commands single-digit market share globally in the smartphone market.
Meanwhile, Samsung recently filed patents for a new wearable gadget that can perform various tasks based on gestures the user makes with their hand or wrist. The wearable, which could be on the wrist, on a necklace or key chain, is described in the patents as including a range of other controls. One could let the device recognize and process images and objects, including barcodes and text, and another is a sensor that monitors the pulse.
Research firm Juniper Research has forecasted that retail revenue from smart wearable devices, including smart watches and glasses, will reach $19 billion by 2018 compared with $1.4 billion in 2013.
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