Microsoft’s Rumored Health Tracking Smartwatch

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Not to be outdone by Samsung and Apple, rumors Microsoft is rumored to be working on its own health-focused smartwatch. Forbes initially broke the rumor in May, claiming that the smartwatch team was recruited from Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect division, and will provide continuous heart rate monitoring and a two day battery life, putting it on part with Samsung’s Gear Fit. Now, just a few weeks later, VentureBeat is confirming the story, citing industry insiders with knowledge of the project.

VentureBeat reports that the Xbox Kinect team had been diving far deeper into the digital health space than any other divisions at Microsoft, and in recent months had developed algorithms that enabled the video-based gaming console to monitor a users heart rate, respiration rate, and even caloric burn.

The watch will reportedly track more than just heart rate, and will capture standard fitness data such as daily steps walked and run, and will track sleep patterns. Microsoft is also reportedly designing the new watch to be compatible with all of the major mobile platforms, making it the first consumer smartwatch that will work with Android, iOS, and Microsoft Mobile.

Microsoft is in a unique position within the digital health ecosystem because the company never abandoned its health data platform, HealthVault, and is reportedly looking to the up-and-coming wearables market as a potential avenue to bolster adoption on the otherwise stalled out initiative. While Samsung, Google, and Apple are all just now unveiling health data platforms, Microsoft has been developing HealthVault since 2007 and has arguably the most mature consumer offering available.

At present time, HealthVault can receive data from 233 third-party devices, including blood glucose meters, fitness trackers, blood pressure monitors, and wireless scales. The platform can also exchange information with 160 third-party apps, including diet planners, medication adherence apps, and fitness apps. Microsoft also just recently announced that the HealthValut platform was now available via app on Android, iOS and Windows Mobile operating systems.

With the rumored introduction of a health-focused smartwatch that will work with any mobile operating system, and backed by HealthVault, a mature health data aggregation platform, Microsoft could position itself well to compete for the yet-to-be proven smartwatch market.

When asked, Microsoft declined to confirm the development efforts.


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