Microsoft is set to unveil a health-focused smartwatch within the next few weeks, which will be available in stores in time for the holiday shopping season, according to a report from Forbes. Reports of Microsoft's rumored smartwatch first surfaced in July. At the time, publication Tom's Hardware reported that the smartwatch would have 11 sensors and use chips from Texas Instruments and Atmel and that the device's display would be on the inside of the user’s wrist instead of the outside because, according to the source, it’s more natural for users to look there.
Forbes' more recent report also claims that the Microsoft smartwatch will have 11 sensors onboard, including one that passively tracks heart rate.
In the past week, two reports leaked about activity tracker maker Fitbit's upcoming devices, and two of the three devices that Fitbit is rumored to unveil will also offer heart rate tracking. One of the devices, called Fitbit Surge, will not only offer heart rate tracking, but also GPS-enabled distance tracking and call and text message notifications.
According to Forbes, Microsoft's device will offer a two-day battery life -- the same battery estimate for the rumored Fitbit Surge -- but still less than the recently unveiled Basis Peak, which will have a four-day battery life.
The Tom's Hardware report in July added that Microsoft’s smartwatch will look like a slimmer version of the Nike+ FuelBand, an activity tracker that Nike appears to be slowly phasing out, given that the company let go as many as 55 members of its Nike+ FuelBand team a several months back. Additionally, the optical engineering team from Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect division will contribute to the company's smartwatch project. The Kinect device itself has been used as a digital health tool in various healthcare contexts, including physical therapy, virtual visits, fall prevention, and autism screening and therapy.
The recent Forbes report also emphasized that Microsoft's smartwatch will work across different platforms, which is in keeping with Microsoft's new CEO's strategy for the company.