Microsoft is not a new entrant to the world of smart watches. Microsoft invented the smart watch category a decade ago by partnering with various watch manufacturers like Swatch, Casio, etc,. Those Smart watches used radio waves to get some basic data such as weather report, etc,. Later, Microsoft discontinued the platform due to poor adoption by consumers. Google has now announced Android Wear platform which enable new wave of smart watches by OEMs such as Samsung, LG, Motorola and others.
What is Android Wear platform?
- Useful information when you need it most: Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. Get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance.
- Android Wear connects your phone to your wrist. Pause, play, and skip music tracks or quickly respond to text messages from your watch.
- Keep track of your fitness with daily summaries showing your step count and heart rate. Heart rate only available on watches with heart rate monitors.
- Just say “Ok Google”. Respond to texts, instant messages, and emails by voice. Ask questions like “Will it rain this weekend?”, “What time is it in London?”, or “How do I get to the post office?” and get straight answers.
In the recent past, we have heard various rumors about Microsoft developing its own smart watch. WSJ reported that Microsoft has requested 1.5-inch displays from component makers as per an executive at a component supplier. Another report claimed that Microsoft’s smartwatch prototypes which are now being part of Surface team is making variety of removable wrist bands in blue, red, yellow, black, white, and grey colors for smartwatches. Also these prototypes were reported to be made of Oxynitride Aluminum, an expensive “translucent aluminum” that is said to be three times harder than glass. This reported smartwatch will work not only with Windows Phone devices, but with other Android and iOS devices as well.
If the above reports are true, then Microsoft is trying to make a vertically integrated product that will offer a great experience. Google’s approach is to create a platform on which other OEMs will build variety of devices. Microsoft might also open up their wearable platform to selective OEMs at start, just like how they started with Windows Phone. Whatever their plans may be, Microsoft should act fast. They should not become a follower in yet another industry as they did in the past with smartphones and tablets.