As Google’s Android Wear Platform Is About To Take Off, Microsoft Should Move Fast With Their Plans

Microsoft Google Smartwatch

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.

  • jaylyric

    We’ll see a Microsoft smartwatch released this year (unless they end up delaying things *sigh*),but I believe that it and the Surface Mini will be here later this year. I think that they need to make it known soon though. They also need to get on the ball with the “Windows In The Car” release,that’s going to be a huge thing too,and Microsoft doesn’t need to be late in the game. Of course they need to have these products run as smooth as possible out the gate.

    • LexicoRed

      They should delay it, or even skip it all together. Right now everyone is wanting to do a watch but none of them offer a compiling reason for one. Besides Microsoft does not do hardware well and already to deep into it. It needs to focus on software and services not money loosing hardware.

      • jaylyric

        Microsoft does excellent hardware the Surface is the best built tablet or hybrid device out.. Period. If anything it’s the software of Windows 8 that people have the wrong perception of. I’ve had the original Surface,yes as in RT,and the build quality has been fantastic. We have another RT,an iPad 2,and iPad mini. We use the Surfaces for our daily computing needs. The iPad 2 has been collecting dust since the IOS 7 update. The mini is primarily for my son to play games on. Which he’s doing right now.


    Hope Microsoft does the option for elegant round or oval option with nice leather and metal strap, they need to start bezelling some of their high end products much like iPhone 5s and etc…

  • JimmyFal

    You know where Microsoft is failing at the moment??? SCHOOLS. Do you know how many schools are buying Chromebooks now? Where are the incentives from Microsoft? Do they realize how important it is to make an impression on the young on how to use their products? Sure the Google stuff is simple to use, but the Microsoft stuff is very capable and kids need to learn to be capable with computers. Hiding the complexities is not always the best way to learn.

    • nickcraze

      you must be stuck in a cave because they have announced countless incentives for MS products for schools.

  • pdouglas

    MS needs to distinguish its ecosystem from the rest, as the one where its partners make the most money. People go into business to make money, not really to make cool stuff. MS, please address this problem now in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.x. Do not address the problem in 6 months or a year. Address the problem now. The following is my suggestion on how this can take place.

    On the smartphone front, I believe MS needs to make its Windows Phone platform become the new Blackberry globally in the enterprise, and radiate outwards into the consumer market. MS, ensure that your partners are able to make money in the relatively lucrative business market, through (as I suggested in my link above) third party app stores / download sites, dedicated to selling apps at the best prices, to generate the most revenue. If MS can do the above, then it can produce the richest ecosystems around PCs/tablets, smartphones, and everything else. It may not have the same reach as Google, but it and its partners will generate much more profits.

    MS, regarding your Nokia X smartphones, many of your partners do not understand them, because they do not benefit them, but instead benefit your competitors’ partners. Why are you doing stuff to benefit your competitors’ partners over your own? Why are you approaching emerging markets leaving your partners behind? I believe it is best to approach emerging platforms with your own partners, allowing them to provide subscription based apps – to make them more affordable in this market.

    As for new platforms such as smart watches, I think it would be great if MS made it a principle to be more like Apple, where it pursued value and profits over reach, for itself and its partners – particularly in the consumer market. I don’t understand the point of MS gaining all these new hardware partners in the smartphone market, if it and its other partners are not able to make any money. MS may be willing to wait several years to make a buck, but many of its partners aren’t. Giving away Windows Phone OS for free, and offering a slew of free services, only undermine the value of software around the WP platform. It would be better if MS reestablished the value of its WP OS, dominated the enterprise, allowed for the establishment of third party app stores (consistent with the suggestions in the linked article above), support a subscription business model for apps, and tackled the consumer market primarily through physical stores in stores, where it can control the retail experience – even if this means investing in one or several telecoms, particularly in the U.S.

    At the end of the day, it is about making a buck. I believe if MS wants to succeed in current new and future markets, it needs to make sure that it and its partners are able to money relatively quickly.

    • Thoughtful

      “and tackled the consumer market primarily through physical stores in stores, where it can control the retail experience ”

      My Microsoft store experience was horrible. at the end of it I simply stopped talking to the guy. When I was buying my Surface Pro 3 (1st one sold on release day) he aggressively came at me with the $480 two year warranty. He also told me the type keyboard I already owned would not work – untrue and he new it.

      I expected a much more professional interaction with the official in store Microsoft rep at the Deerfoot Meadows Bestbuy in Calgary. This guy was a jerk and should be moved into a non customer facing role. I won’t return to this store for a while if I can avoid it!

      • pdouglas

        Sorry to hear about that.

        • Thoughtful

          Maybe it wasn’t very classy on my part to single a store out on the internet like this. This caught me at a bad moment.

          The store experience aside, the SP3 is awesome!

          pdouglas – I enjoyed reading your comment and perspectives.

          • Sanjiko Depur

            Don’t worry about it, I’ve experienced the same poor retail service at 2 other Microsoft stores I’ve tried to do business with, I’ve given up going to them. I buy online or not at all now.

  • S_A_R_K_I_S

    I just hope Microsoft looks at the past smartwatch they made and improve on it. If you actually look at what was achieved then they just have to repackage it, modernize it with today’s requirements and you’ll have a winner, I’m sure they know that selling garbage and flogging it will not help. I think they would take the approach of releasing the product which is different from the rest, example Cortana; they were going to release this but held out until it stood out and this is what we should expect from the new Microsoft

  • SocalBrian

    Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrot said that his sources who’ve seen what Microsoft is currently working on aren’t impressed. – at about 15 minutes in