Eager not to miss out on the wearables revolution as it did with smartphones, Microsoft is preparing to launch a cross-platform smartwatch as early as this summer.

The sensor-heavy wearable will work with Apple's iOS software and Google's Android operating system as well as devices running Microsoft's own Windows Phone which will be seen as a brave move by Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella - who recently unveiled versions of the company's Office software built specifically for Apple's iPad.

With the company's own Windows Phone platform struggling to remain relevant in a world dominated by Apple and Google, allowing all smartphone users access to its watch is a clever move.

The phone is set to constantly monitor your heart rate day and night, could launch this summer and will feature a slim colour touchscreen. There are no details about how much the smartwatch will cost or what it will be called, though it could come under Microsoft's Surface brand.


The wearables market is set to explode in the next 12 months as companies like Apple, Google and Samsung look to cash in on a trend for the quantified self which began with fitness trackers like the Jawbone Up and Nike Fuelband.

While Samsung has already launched a number of smartwatches onto the market, these have been poorly received and only work with a limited set of Samsung's own smartphones.

Apple is said to be working on the so-called iWatch which is likely only to work only with iPhones and iPads when it launched later this year.

Google has announced a specific version of its software - Android Wear - to run on smartwatches from the likes of LG, Motorola and HTC while it is also expected to launch its own Nexus smartwatch possibly as soon as next month.

Constant monitoring

Details of the development of the Microsoft smartwatch ve emerged from multiple sources speaking to Forbes about the device.

The report says that Microsoft will leverage the technology developed for the Kinect Xbox sensor to allow for constant heart rate monitoring. This will plug into the trend of commercialisation of health in recent years, with the launch of a range of smart devices which are designed to monitor everything from your heart rate to your weight.

The wrist-worn device from Microsoft will feature a slim, colour touchscreen similar in size to the screen on Samsung'a Gear Fit which was launched earlier this year.

The sources says the screen will be positioned on the inside of the wearer's wrist in order to make it easier and more private to view notifications.

One of the key criticisms of first generation smartwatches is the limited battery life, with Microsoft's effort said to offer little more than Samsung's Gear Fit, with two days of life.

The release schedule for the smartwatch is unclear with the sources indicating that it could happen as soon as this summer.