Microsoft to launch cross-platform smartwatch in weeks – report

According to  a report, Microsoft is about to launch a smartwatch that will work on multiple mobile platforms and among other features track wearer’s heart rate. It was also reported the device, which will apparently come to market in time for the US holiday season, will have a battery life of over two days.

If the battery life claim is true, this could put the device in an advantageous position compared to Samsung Galaxy Gear and Motorola’s Moto 360 smartwatches, already on the market and which usually require charging daily. Apple has also revealed its upcoming smartwatch, whose launch has been postponed from the holiday season start to early next year, needs charging every day.

The report is consistent with Microsoft’s strategy under current CEO Satya Nadella to become a cross-platform player. It follows the tech giant’s decision earlier this year to finally make Microsoft Office available on the iOS, marking a shift away from previous CEO Steve Ballmer’s Windows-only focus. Considering Windows Phone’s low market share of around 2.5% (according to research firm IDC), going cross-platform is probably Microsoft’s best bet.

Launching a smartwatch would be Microsoft’s first step into the wearable smart devices category. The battery life aspect is an important one, as this tends to be high up on people’s priorities when choosing a device. Microsoft could also derive benefit from its software and enterprise expertise in building a cloud-based solution for health monitoring for corporate workers, for example.

At the time of launching Office for iOS, Nadella reiterated the company’s vision of the interconnection of mobile and cloud. “Mobile and cloud are one and the same. A cloud that is not connected to devices is just latent potential. A cloud for everyone on every device,” he said.

Given the Windows’ phone’s low market share, Microsoft is wise to broaden to other platforms. The smart devices market is still new territory, where big pieces of the pie are up for grabs. However, it will by no means be an easy ride for Microsoft as competition is fierce from the likes of Samsung and Motorola, and Apple phone users are likely to go with an Apple smartwatch if any.

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