Microsoft was looking to get into the wearable scene back in 2013, apparently, as evidenced by recently revealed Xbox Watch photos.
Xbox Watch Photos
The Xbox Watch photos show a prototype that was early on in the development process, and it’s clear that Microsoft soon scrapped the idea. Whether we’ll see a new wearable device from Microsoft remains to be seen, but the technology featured in these Xbox Watch photos is far outdated at this point.
The Xbox Watch photos were recently posted by Twitter user Hikari Calyx, and were first spotted by Windows Central. As with many modern smartwatches, the Xbox Watch prototype featured a 1.5-inch display as well as the removable bands that are common with many models. The device featured in the Xbox Watch photos actually appears pretty fully-featured – especially given its development date of 2013, with heart rate monitoring, GPS location tracking, and dedicated app workouts. The Verge reports that the interface seems similar to that of Microsoft’s canceled Band wearable, and is also reminiscent of title found on the Xbox UI around the time of the prototype’s development.
This is not the tech giant’s first foray into the smartwatch scene, however, with an initial entry into the field as an early pioneer with the SPOT brand back in 2004. That line, in collaboration with Nokia, was ahead of its time and never caught on in a serious way. Microsoft tried to bring their own Band hardware to market, but that failed to gain any traction as well. Given the company’s current direction, it seems unlikely that we’ll see a Windows 10 version of a wearable. The Xbox Watch photos represent a development idea that has long since passed, but it’s still fun to look at and imagine how it might have been used if it really were to release back in 2013. Microsoft is now focused on their Surface line, Xbox consoles, and developing their Cortana AI for use with smart devices.
A Missed Opportunity
Smartwatches have only really gained any popularity and widespread adoption in the past few years. Perhaps catapulted by the success of fitness trackers like Fitbit, devices ranging from $10 bands to luxury Apple Watches started looking to capitalize on this exploding market.
The Xbox Watch photos show a device that might have gained traction if it was released in 2018 with updated software. With how successful Microsoft has been with their suite of Surface products as well as with the modern Xbox line, there would surely be a place for a smartwatch along the lineup. After multiple failed attempts, however, it seems that Microsoft has all but abandoned the idea.
Currently, Apple is the major player when it comes to wearable technology. While a fully-featured device in line with the Xbox Watch photos could stand to threaten their market dominance, it’s a risk the company is probably not willing to take. Considering the complete inability of devices like the Windows phone to compete with Apple, it’s definitely a sizeable investment that’s by no means guaranteed to pay off.
The Xbox Watch – Pin Diagram
Yes we successfully booted up an Xbox Watch. Video is processing now. pic.twitter.com/qwBtOOf5fs
— Hikari Calyx (@Hikari_Calyx) January 22, 2018