11 Comments

Summary:

You probably won’t need a Windows Phone if you want Microsoft’s expected smart watch. Previously, the device was said to work with Android and iOS and now a new report suggests it will work with PCs, Macs and even the Xbox One.

Surface watch
photo: Gear Live

Last month Forbes suggested that Microsoft’s smart watch would work with Android and iOS handsets. The supported device list may not stop there, though. Gear Live claims to have briefly used the device and suggests the “Surface Watch” will also connect to Windows computers, Macs and even the Xbox One.

Most smartwatches available today act as second screens for handsets, so the idea of a connection to a computer or a video game console is intriguing. And it may make sense, if Gear Live’s information about the watch’s hardware is correct. The site reports the wearable is packed with health-tracking sensors:

“It has a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, and most interestingly, a galvanic skin response sensor all built-in. The galvanic skin response sensor is built into the watch band, while everything else is built into the unit itself.”

While smartwatches tend to be smartphone accessories, some health-tracking devices on the market today can connect to computers as well as handsets. And recent decisions by Microsoft show that it wants to support as many platforms as it can with its products — even Chromebooks.  So it makes sense for a smartwatch from Seattle to follow suit. After all, if Microsoft were to make a watch that only supports its own Windows Phone handsets, it would be vastly limiting its potential sales since iOS and Android phones rule the roost.XboxOne

Having the watch connect to an Xbox One is interesting and, if that’s true, may tell us something about how the watch will connect to devices. I don’t believe the Xbox One has Bluetooth, which is the wireless connection type typically used by most smartwatches and health-related wearables today. I could be wrong on the Xbox One hardware, although I did check the Bluetooth SIG’s product certification site and don’t see the game console listed.

Assuming my quick fact check is correct — and that Gear Live has accurate information — that suggests to me that Microsoft’s smart watch would use a direct Wi-Fi connection to transmit data between it and the Xbox One. It’s possible that it uses the same method for the other devices as well; they all have Wi-Fi radios inside them. Or the watch could have both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, using whichever radio it needs to for various devices.

Regardless of how it would connect to an Xbox One, a smartwatch filled with those sensors could provide interesting data to games titles, particularly exercise and health-related games that use Kinect to get you moving. Instead of tracking physical movement through the Kinect cameras, the game could get actual health data such as blood pressure and heart-rate while playing. I just might be playing more with the Xbox One to stay in shape if that happens.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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11 Comments

  1. Steffen Jobbs Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Microsoft seems to want to become known as a hardware company.

  2. ronald goodman Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    I would not downgrade to an iPhone to use an apple watch if I had an android, and I woulnt upgrade to a windows phone air android if I had an iPhone..

    so make the devices for all or don’t bother

  3. I can control my PC and my Xbox with my Windows phone, so doing everything on a watch is almost right out of sci-fi (along with touchscreens and phones and all that). haha

    1. Not really because in Sci-Fi’s the devices were actually good. MS doesn’t know how to make good hardware, only hybrid garbage…even the UI is ugly.

  4. Awesome – now I can “talk to the hand”

  5. SureFire / Jonathan Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    That can’t be real… who wants to wear a laptop on their wrist??? That things HUGE!!

  6. I don’t think any company has made me smack my own forehead more than MS has in the last 3 years…just one DOH after the other with these hybrid crap ideas…even bled into the Xbox division…the company is infected with a bad case of “horrible vision” syndrome.

  7. @CardRatings Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Microsoft is definitely not going for style points here with this Surface Watch. I think the real question we’re all wondering is…. Will it blend?

  8. Andru Edwards Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    Hey all – I wrote the original article, and am the guy who got his hands on the watch. A lot of people have been reading the story and commenting on how huge the watch it. Just read the article – I mention clearly that the image is *not* the actual watch, and that it is nowhere near as comically big :)

  9. @CardRatings Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    I heard the Surface Watch also transforms into a surfboard. Kidding aside, I think the question we are all thinking is… Will it blend?

  10. With the size of that thing it would be better as a belt buckle. When you look at the menu, it is sideways, at least for the way you would look at a normal wrist watch. They would have been better off making it a large square, with the menu at the correct positioning. Panoramic view is far from requesit, in fact it deters from the product’s appeal at this point.