Microsoft is set to release a smartwatch focused on health and fitness to rival the Samsung Gear Fit, according to a patent. Here's everything you need to know about the Microsoft smartwatch release date, price and specs. Read: The 9 best smartwatches 2014: list of the best smartwatches you can buy right now.
If Microsoft does launch its own wearable device, it will have to compete with Google's Android Wear system which is now available on the LG G Watch, and the hotly anticipated and heavily rumoured Apple iWatch.
Potentially called the Surface Smartwatch, the device is described in the patent as a 'wearable personal information system' which was filed in 2012. The product makes even more sense now Microsoft has acquired Nokia's Devices and Services business.
Microsoft smartwatch: Release date
One of the big questions is when Microsoft's smartwatch will be released. Android Wear devices are now available and iWatch is tipped to arrive later this year with or soon after the iPhone 6.
According to IBT, which cites a Microsoft source, the Redmond-based firm will launch its smartwatch by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Tom's Hardware is more specific giving October as the launch month via a trusted source calling it a 'Smartband' although Sony already has a product under that name.
Microsoft smartwatch: Price
As usual, there is next to no information on the price of the Microsoft smartwatch so we'll have to wait and find out on this front. It will have to compete with the pricing of the Android Wear devices which start at £159 and the iWatch which is likely to be a more expensive option. Our early guess is £149.
Microsoft smartwatch: Specs and compatibility
The patent states that the device will feature an optical sensor, electrical connector, and data connector. Microsoft's smartwatch cum fitness tracker will track movement and exercise with a combination of sensors and GPS.
"Users have been forced to connect external heartbeat sensors, for example using a chest strap, to obtain biometric feedback during exercise. The use of multiple components in this manner can be bulky and make exercise awkward. As a result, the adoption of such portable electronic devices during exercise is not as widespread as it could be," it says.
This is backed up by multiple sources across the web all stating that the smartwatch will be packed with sensors. IBT even claims it will have a blood-glucose monitor and a UV sensor. The Tom's Hardware source says there will be a total of 11 sensors inside the device.
The unit will have a screen and can be removed from the band which makes it a smartwatch – to be inserted into other fitness equipment or a docking station for charging, according to the 2012 patent so the design could be vastly different now.
Although the focus will be on health and fitness, with the ability to measure the user's heart rate, there will be other applications such as a music player, alarm clock, messaging and telephone. It's also possible that Microsoft will load the smartwatch with Bing search and its Siri rival, Cortana.
An important point to note is that multiple sources across the internet state that the Microsoft smartwatch won't be solely compatible with Windows Phone handsets, but iPhone and Android too.