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back to article Could a 'Zunewatch' be Microsoft's next hardware foray?

Add Microsoft to the list of companies said to be working on smartwatch devices. The Redmond-based giant is developing its own wrist-mounted device with its eye on a possible release later this year, according to a report by Forbes, which cites "multiple sources with knowledge of the company’s plans." Forbes suggests that the …

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MS Watch v2.0

As ever, wait for v3.0 of anything from MS for the one that works.

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I'm sure it will be hugely successful......

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Re: MS Watch v2.0

So you like Surface Pro 3. Got it.

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not-metro

I'm sure it will also use not-metro for it's UI. Since it works great for phones, tablets, laptops, multi-monitor workstations, and servers it's a natural for a watch!

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JDX
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Re: not-metro

Live tiles might actually be the best option for a watch though, provided you limit to specific configurations i.e one big tile, 4 small ones or some full-width/full-height combinations. WP8 UI would actually work well here and you could easily see the time, fitness stats, email/SMS notifications and calendar notifications.

I doubt it but WP8 is probably the mobile OS best suited to the tiny screen right now.

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Devil

Re: not-metro

Will it have a fan in it?

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Devil

Re: not-metro

No it will not have any fans. Other then JDX maybe.

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JDX
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Re: not-metro

You mean the way Windows phones have fans in?

Do try a bit harder.

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Zuney Bin

What the hell do they keep resurrecting the 'Zune' name for? It would be like Ford coming out with a new Pinto. You just don't reuse names when the original product associated with it was a disaster. Besides, it's a stupid name anyway.

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"The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named"

You must be new to the Reg, as the headlines are written to generate clicks, not to be accurate. Typically the articles will correct such misapprehensions, providing they are read before posting :)

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Joke

Re: "The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named"

Could have been worse- it could have been called the BobWatch!

Or a pervy-sounding Watch for Windows

How about a WoW! Watch (Windows on Wrist)

Xwatch sounds a bit badass, though.

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Re: Zuney Bin

"The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named..."

There- feel that shift in reality as the 'Zunewatch' becomes a thing?

Dosen't matter what they really call it now...

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Re: Zuney Bin

Microsoft haven't announced it, or even a name, what has happened there is el reg is (as usual) cheekily swiping at Microsoft there. Only you seem to have spent less time reading the article than MS did analysing how big a deal "the internet" would be.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named"

Or 'kin watch?

Just askin'

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Windows

Re: "The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named"

"How about a WoW! Watch (Windows on Wrist)"

WfW 3.11 (Windows for Watches)

.

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Happy

Re: "Xwatch sounds a bit badass..."

Pronounced "ekswatch"? or "zwatch"?

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Re: "The Zunewatch, as it will most certainly not be named"

Xwatch sounds a bit badass, though.

Xclock maybe? Except it already exists.

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Anonymous Coward

"and would interface with iOS and Android devices as well as Windows Phone handsets."

I cannot see it interfacing with iOS at all. In the Apple ToS for App store submissions, any feature that is built-in to iOS a developer cannot replicate it as it will either not be allowed into the App Store or if it is an existing app that now competes with Apple can be removed. This is put under the "functional restrictions" in the ToS.

http://www.tuaw.com/2008/09/22/apple-rejects-another-app-for-duplicating-functionality/

So, if Apple has the iWatch, then Microsoft will not be able to submit an app to allow a Zunewatch as the app required will be duplicating functionality.

Android will be a different story though.

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You misunderstand their policy

If iOS already provided functionality that was capable of interfacing with Microsoft's watch, they might not allow a separate app that did the same thing. But since iOS probably won't (unless Microsoft's watch uses some open protocol and nothing beyond that) that won't be the case.

iOS includes Mail, Message and Safari, but there are other email, SMS and browser apps available, after all.

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WTF?

Re: You misunderstand their policy

> unless Microsoft's watch uses some open protocol

because Apple are all about open protocols...

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JDX
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So if Apple launch iWatch, the FitBit iOS app would be removed, is that the kind of thing being discussed?

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Re: You misunderstand their policy

Apple uses open protocols everywhere, just not exclusively. Or have I missed where they're using a proprietary version of wifi, BT, SMS, IMAP, h.264, HTML5, and so on and so forth.

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Pirate

zune

I just wanted to say it. Zzzzuuuunnnnneeeee. That is all.

mine is the one with the crunchpad sticking out the pocket

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Happy

Re: zune

"'Z-o-o-n' That spells Zune!"

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Re: zune

Nah. It will be like a Diskworld device and have a demon that says "Bingley-Bing"

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Windows

Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

Nobody is buying the Samsung watches, because, well, why would you really?

Who wants a watch with a 2 day battery life? How will you use it as a phone? If it needs to be paired to a smartphone then what is in fact the point of it? You may as well just use the phone.

In fact, just the other day I made a point to note whether the people I came across were wearing a watch and I was shocked to see that almost nobody was.

Ten years ago that would have been unheard of.

Apparently, people these days are just not in the habit of having a watch strapped to their wrist like they did in the past. I know I haven't worn a watch my entire life, and I am no spring chicken I assure you.

However, if all these companies want to compete with each other on who can be the biggest failure making smart watches for people who mostly don't wear watches then who am I to say otherwise?

Carry on!

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

I don't get it either. Tech companies seem to be falling over themselves to find the next big thing they can slap a touch screen on and call a smart device.

Hmmm... Everyone needs to poop... Let's make a 'smartshitter' you can use to browse the web while taking a dump...

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'Nobody is buying the Samsung watches, because, well, why would you really?'

Samsung claim they are selling... Or is that shipped?

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

Well...

> Who wants a watch with a 2 day battery life?

A watch that wirelessly charges is no biggie. I take my watch off every night anyway.

> How will you use it as a phone?

You won't? I'm guessing MS are (like everyone sane) seeing this as a notification device (if it's not just bullshit). A watch is notification device, after all. Currently only for time and date (and in some cases, pressure) but you look at your watch to get information very quickly. Expanding that information doesn't seem like a terrible idea.

Making a 1.5cm thick watch in order to cram all the electronics in sounds like a shitty idea though; I wouldn't wear anything over about 8mm thick. Or that didn't have an always-on analogue face.

> If it needs to be paired to a smartphone then what is in fact the point of it?

What about driving? I get a call, I'm driving, I can ignore the phone, use Bluetooth handsfree or answer the phone and get arrested and fined. Or I can press the button on my watch that I've got programmed to send an "I'm driving, call me back in {x} minutes" text and hang up the phone. They can't do you for checking your watch.

Or an interview? I forgot to set my phone to airplane mode - oops. I can fumble for it, curse under my breath, switch it off and apologize to the interviewer or just tap a button on my wrist to make it go away.

Or a phablet? Say I've got a phablet and I keep it in my laptop bag and I answer calls with a Bluetooth headset - I get no caller ID but I can look at my watch. Or read a text. Without delving into the bag and producing an unwieldy and highly nickable slab. That's worth a few quid.

Are you one of those people who don't wear a watch and can't imagine why anyone else would? Because that might show a serious lack of imagination on your part. Just sayin'.

Ah. I see that you are. Okay.

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

@dogged

I'm not disputing that some people will find a use for these, particularly in the health + fitness market where I can see all manner of heart rate / stopwatch / satnav jogging route apps.

What I can't see is a mass market frenzy where everyone wants a smartwatch.

Now - if it came with lasers and a grappling hook on the other hand...

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

Wearables will happen... so people are getting their first gen kit out there so when it does pick up, they already have some market presence...

all smart watches will suffer a similar battery issue... Qi charging might help - just drop your Lumia and Watch on the may by your bedside and its all good for the morning...

and as for watches with a 2 day battery? I have to wind my watch EVERY day - and this thing costs an order of magnitude more than any smart watch is likely to cost...

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

"A watch is notification device, after all. Currently only for time and date (and in some cases, pressure) but you look at your watch to get information very quickly"

Yet, as my completely unscientific study showed, most people don't wear wristwatches today.

Irrespective of what you have personally attached to your extremities I invite you to take a personal survey of the people around you and determine how many of them are in the habit of wearing a wristwatch.

The result you find may surprise you.

"What about driving? I get a call, I'm driving"

I don't know about you, but my phone is paired via BT to my cars head unit and when I receive a call I simply need to press the "phone" button on my dashboard and I can commence the call hands free and without risking incarceration. It even mutes the Doobie Brothers album that I am listening to for me in order to facilitate the call.

There is no need to send an "I am driving, bugger off" hang up message at all and it is all quite legal.

Of course YMMV.

"Are you one of those people who don't wear a watch and can't imagine why anyone else would? "

Well, as I said, I have never worn a watch, and it is quite true that, as you suggest, I can't really imagine why one would.

But nonetheless I did perform an impromptu survey and discovered that most other people today, apparently, don't wear a watch either.

Obviously you do wear a watch. Nothing is wrong with that of course. But just because you like to wear a watch it does not automatically follow that everybody else does too.

As far as I can tell, the only way these so called smart watches will catch on will because of the "non watch" functionality that they probably will provide.

Functionality such as fitness monitoring.

Which reminds me, the other thing I noticed during my impromptu study is that there were more people wearing some sort of "fitness" related wrist device that counts steps taken and calories burnt (without any sort of time/phone functionality, or even user interface, it was all done on the phone it was paired to) than there were people wearing traditional time keeping watches.

And for the record, Samsung are indeed struggling to sell their so-called "smart watches"

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re: Samsung claim they are selling

or, as you say, shipped.

They are trying to give them away at Schiphol with the associated tablet and a case in a special promotion. Not seen one move yet.

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Re: Nobody is buying the Samsung watches

Tablets existed before iPad, but nobody bought them because the implementation sucked. Just because nobody has cracked the form factor doesn't mean it's not worth investing in.

Current technology is rather marginal for such a small device to be practical, rather like pre-iPad tablets were before their time, so we're in new territory really.

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

Alright, you don't wear a watch. Nobody you know wears a watch. Nobody you have ever seen in your life wears a watch. Nobody in your entire country wears a watch! Nobody wears watches!

But based on 2013 figures -

Timex sales of wristwatches increased by 9.1%

Casio sales of wristwatches increased by 14.2%

Swatch sales of wristwatches increased by 12.7%

So somebody's buying watches. Perhaps, in your world, they wear them while locked away in darkened rooms with the blinds drawn for fear that somebody will see them.

Or maybe you're just wrong.

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

OK, if those figures are actually correct (you failed to provide sources for those figures btw) then I will be happy to acknowledge that the next big thing will be everybody wanting to wear so-called smartwatches.

Personally I don't see it happening but then it's not like I am infallible after all.

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

Add another use case to your list - when I'm cycling, I can see at a glance who is calling me, if I have txts and other things. Handy. Especially as this will pair with smartphones and headsets so you can buy a phablet, leave it in your bag most of the time and make and receive calls via it using the watch as the interface.

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

Many years ago, video watches were a SF fantasy item. Everyone wore a watch and doing wireless video?!? Incredible! The people now in charge of tech companies read those stories, and this is why they think smartwatches are a good idea.

Unfortunately for that idea, we now have supercomputers in our pockets, and want bigger, better screens for them. The mass demand for smartwatches simply is not there.

Watches are now fashion items or 'look, I've got loadsamoney' ones. Yes, you could spend lots on a smartwatch, but why?

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Re: Are MS trying to intentionally fail?

> (you failed to provide sources for those figures btw)

Apologies. They're from googling 2013 financial statements. They were all PDFs but luckily all the increases were on the second page of each PDF.

I'd re-search (re-research?) but I have a meeting in 4 minutes.

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Re: we now have supercomputers in our pockets, and want bigger, better screens for them

This year, yes - a couple of years ago the current trend would have seen silly and we were laughing at the monstrous sized Trigger Happy TV-esque phones.

No reason a new trend won't happen - in fact it certainly will, we just don't know what it will be.

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Zune still works for me

Despite having an iphone which is very useful I still find myself using my original Zune for FM radio, listening to my music, and as a movie and picture repository to drive my van's rear entertainment system. My Zune still serves me very well after many years.

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Re: Zune still works for me

Play for sure servers still working ?

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WTF?

Commentards excel at being

well, retarded.

So some guy comes along and says he gets good value from his zune. Whatever, each to his own etc.

Yet three people appear to be compelled by that statement to downvote his post because?

Well, who can say?

I am often accused of being a MS H8ter, which is not entirely unfounded, but I still fail to see how some dude claiming he gets use out of his Zune is worthy of 3 downvotes.

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Re: Zune still works for me

No, Plays for sure was the system before Zune for Microsoft partners selling music players.

MS screwed their partners by killing it and expecting everyone to switch to a Zune, but they switched to iPods or other non-MS MP3 players.

The Zune player hardware was not that bad, but the software was almost as shitty as the Sony software.

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Collectors' item

At least these will have future rarity value.

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Well the .NET Micro Framework started out on those SPOT watches many years ago. It would seem likely that this would be what they'd use as there seems to be renewed effort heading that way recently. It'd be nice to see it come full circle.

The .NET Micro Framework was open sourced by the way, once the watches were abandoned. Isn't is strange how Apple is now the locked down corporate monster and Microsoft is (relatively) open these days?

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utter bollocks

Ifmicrosoft were relatively open they would open source stuff that was in use at the time. Look up the open source stuff apple uses in their devices as per the about page on an iphone. Android is much more similar to apple as regards open than Microsoft ever will be

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Re: utter bollocks

They do open source stuff in use at the time - ASP.Net, Entity Framework, a whole bunch of others listed here: http://www.microsoft.com/opensource/directory.aspx. Not everything, granted, but a hell of a lot more than they used to ... they're heading in the right direction.

Having said that, the .Net Micro Framework was largely a thin wrapper around System.NotImplementedException :)

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Re: utter bollocks

> Ifmicrosoft were relatively open they would open source stuff that was in use at the time.

Like ASP.NET or the Roslyn compiler, you mean?

(Note - both of these are fully open source. They even accept "pull" requests and commits, unlike, for example, Google).

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Re: Roslyn compiler

Not seen that. does it produce code that runs on Templar buildings?

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