back to article Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST

The battle for the future of the human wrist entered a new phase on Monday after it was claimed that tech goliath Microsoft is planning to release its own wearable computer in the coming weeks. If true, this would mean that Redmond's smartwatch would hit stores some way in advance of Apple's own wrist 'puter, which is expected …

  1. Herer

    Strap on time...ahem

    ..because we've all experienced the elasticity of Microsoft minutes!

    The time is .. 10:40... 10:34... 11:03....no wait it's 10:40 again..

    1. moylan

      Re: Strap on time...ahem

      or the number of service packs remaining to be installed.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Graham Marsden

      Re: Strap on time...ahem

      Ah, yes, the Microsoft guy who writes their "Time remaining" code was due to visit, but he was running late so he phoned to say he'd arrive in 30 minutes, no, two hours, no, wait, ten minutes, err, perhaps tomorrow...

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: Strap on time...ahem

        Be nice, cite your sources: http://xkcd.com/612/

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Kristian Walsh - Re: Strap on time...ahem

          Although I do occasionally read XKCD I've not read them all, so I'd not seen that one before.

          I read that joke on a forum some years ago, but thanks for the pointer.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Pebble still seems the best

    Everything else is over-engineered with no battery life.

    1. Anonymoist Cowyard
      FAIL

      Re: Pebble still seems the best

      SWR30 says hi,.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Pebble still seems the best

        If you were referring to battery life, that manages 3 days verses Pebble's 7.

    2. Ralph B

      Re: Pebble still seems the best

      Agreed. Still wearing and using my Pebble.

      (Not that I can ever understand the need to bring information about the current weather to my wrist. I can look out of the window for that.)

      1. breakfast
        Coat

        Re: Pebble still seems the best

        Unusual to see a comment on the Reg advocating windows.

      2. JCB

        Re: Pebble still seems the best

        "(Not that I can ever understand the need to bring information about the current weather to my wrist. I can look out of the window for that.)"

        You've not worked at the places I have. There are places you simply do not have windows to look through. I was upgrading a system on one site near Nottingham and a few minutes before lunch the PA system would announce the weather conditions so you knew whether to pick up your coat before you went out. Inside you simply had no inkling if it was sleeting or scorching. and once you got to the exit there was no chance of turning and going back against the flow of people off to the canteen or the shops or whatever.

  3. dogged

    > we'll wager Redmond would like to wipe it from the collective memory forever.

    Why? It did what it was meant to do. It worked. There just wasn't any point to it. The engineers did as requested so they can be pleased with it. Management? Not so much.

  4. i like crisps
    Angel

    There really must be a god....

    ...one wrist for me Casio and one wrist for me Smartwatch....proof beyond doubt that the almighty does exist and has thought this through.

    1. alwarming
      Paris Hilton

      Re: There really must be a god....

      Luckily for some, there is a third place to wear a wrist watch, except it's not on a wrist.... :-|

      Paris, coz her teeth hurt.

  5. Cipher
    Coat

    Total ThermoWristial War!

    In a little noted personnel move, Microsoft has hired Dick Tracy...

    1. Graham Marsden
      Happy

      Re: Total ThermoWristial War!

      "Six, Two and Even, Over and Out."

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    One of the wrist

    watch/phone/tablet/wearable computy things must be in with a chance.

    Considering the length of time there have been rumours of an Appoo wrist job, perhaps MS have thought about it and produced something functional and then held on to it until Appoo's announcement had been made, there is usually a fairly long lead time between an Appoo announcement and market reality so MS would know they can step in early before actual release and attempt to trump the limpwristed roundy cornered item.

    If I was a marketing person for MS I would be tempted in that direction.

    1. Mad Hacker
      Mushroom

      Re: One of the wrist

      Your misspelling of Apple like a whiney child really improves your street cred here. Hate all you want but grow up.

  7. Gomez Adams

    Plug ugly?

    Compared to all the currently available smart watches it is a Venus de Milo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Plug ugly?

      Hope you realise that it's Microsoft's old Smart Watch and not the one it intends to release soon...

      'nonymous - Just in case I'm the stupid one.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Plug ugly?

      Gomez Adams: "Compared to all the currently available smart watches it is a Venus de Milo"

      You mean it's ancient and doesn't have hands?

  8. chris lively

    I struggled to find a reason to put something like this on my wrist. The problem is I haven't worn a watch or bracelet or whatever since I picked up my first phone in '97.

    It's one more thing to lose that doesn't offer ANY additional benefits. Heart rate monitor? That would be cool for like 3.4 seconds. Text on my wrist? Already on the phone that I'm going to carry anyhow. Take calls on it? I really never felt the need to be like dick tracy and I don't feel the need for everyone to hear my conversations anyway. Mail? Again, on the phone.

    Note to MS: It's a fad. Apple will dominate the market and then the whole thing will crater in about 12 months. Skip this fight and try and think of something useful in the long term.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      The good news is Microsoft has prolly got a crap-loads of useful stuff. The bad news is they suck at the execution, kinda like my jokes.

    2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      I wear a watch. I find it quite useful to tell me the time.

      I have a phone somewhere with a clock on it but it doesn't keep good time (why does 'sync to the network' never work ?), at best it's buried in a pocket and at worst it's on a table somewhere.

      Phones as timepieces are pretty poor. Throwback to the pocket watch.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        > I wear a watch. I find it quite useful to tell me the time.

        I was given a rather nice watch as a reward for not getting fired for 15 years. Since I'm a sentimental sot, I started wearing it daily, which is the first time I've ever done so.

        However I quickly discovered I could not tell the time from an analog clock face any more! It's taken about 3 months for me to finally be able to glance at it and go "oh it's almost 4:30" without 10 seconds of "ok the big hand...." It is the only analog faced timepiece in my house.

    3. stanimir

      Fad means 'free' advertising much like Apple-Samsung war. It's talked on the TV/El Reg/magazines etc.

    4. Fluffy Bunny

      "struggled to find a reason to put something like this on my wrist"... well tell that to all those people buying wristwatch shaped pedometers, They want exactly this.

      1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Have to agree ditched my watch after getting my first mobile, as I used to work in a shop my watches would just get scratched or cracked anyway. Now I don't feel I need it, I mean most places have a clock, there is one in my car and on my computer so don't feel the need for one.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        There are some specic wrist devices - like subs dive computers, or cardio training devices - or the like, because you need them at hand and there are not many places where you could wear them - although future practical HUD devices could make them less useful. How much a generic "smartwatch" is useful is yet to see. Especially if they have short battery life, are not waterproof, and require a smartphone to be tethered to. The above devices are self-contained.

    5. Jerren

      Fair points all, I guess I am charlie brown trying to kick the football, cause I have been chasing a decent smart watch now for about two decades... I have a couple pebbles a black and the steel and I find it's the little things that make it useful to me. Changing the music in the shower, controlling my go pro while skiing or snorkeling, and reading texts while my hands are full or when I can't get to my phone while driving etc, it comes in handy. The pedometer and sleep apps works ok but not as well as a fitbit or other specifically designed devices. And the text only watch face really turns a lot of heads even with high end watch collectors do a double take.

      That said most of computer manufacturer versions that are being touted have a HUGE issue that I don't see being fixed fast enough - battery life. They claim 1-2 days of battery life with "normal" usage, lets face it how many of us are "normal usage" people especially when we first get them and are playing with all the features? I don't see the value in a watch that I have to charge over my lunch hour to get though the day, thanks but I'll wait for gen 2. Or in Microsoft's case gen 4-5? Am I the only one who bought the original Microsoft "smartwatch" back in the late 90's/early noughties? The battery was great, too bad the radio frequency updates were flakey at best...

      Guys it's not hard, it's got to be useful, functional and have a battery that lasts for at least a week of "normal use" so we can get about 20 hours of hard use out of it and not look like we have a antique radio shack cb radio strapped to our wrist, oh and have an open api so we can write our own apps for things you never though of. Right now the closest thing out there is still the pebble, and I was really hoping for so much more by now...

  9. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    Too late to the party...again.

    Given MS are rather late to this somewhat narrow market, I really wonder why they're bothering. A smarter move would have been to buddy up with someone established, perhaps Samsung to do something around compatibility with existing kit. Let someone else do the leg work on this one instead of sinking money into yet another also-ran.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Too late to the party...again.

      Given MS are rather late to this somewhat narrow market, I really wonder why they're bothering.

      Because this strategy has worked in the past for them, most notably against Netscape, though there are other examples. Problem is, I suspect you are right in this case, but if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks a lot like a nail.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too late to the party...again.

      Smart watches are to the tech industry what 3D was to the TV industry. Nobody really needs it, nobody really wants it.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Too late to the party...again.

      Being late is not an issue. Apple was late in the smartphone market but with the perceived right product it doesn't mean you can't conquer a large slice of any market even entering late. Google and Chrome are another example. Swatch was able to conquer its slice of the watch market - and entered it in 1983 only.

      It all depends on creating a product that is good - or at least actually looks like - and people start to want for some reason.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'll be rather square with a cheap feeling plastic case that comes in some garish bright colours with four live tiles on. It'll probably cost just as much as the Apple Watch and a number of app developers that you can count on one hand...

    1. hoverboy

      Nooo, it may well be all of that except that it won't be plastic. It will have the vapor magnesium stuff case like the Surfaces, which is quite nice really.

  11. Anomalous Cowshed

    Throughout the history of humanity...

    The wrist has been a significant competitor to the fanny (meaning of course the fanny in the American sense, as in a snug little pouch into which you might slip your, er, mobile phone). At times, the wrist has won out, and this currently seems to be the case, with a huge volume of pornnew smart watches competing for our attention on the market.

    When asked to comment about this, a former senior UK politician said that it was "fanny business", and then proceeded to claim her husband's wrist-related pay-tv bill as parliamentary expenses.

  12. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Joke

    COOL!!

    I can get one and put it next to my Kin and my Zune! M$FT for evuh!

  13. Charles Manning

    Yawn, nothing new

    Microsoft already released their watch. A decade ago. It was crap.

    As for the watch in the picture. It is clearly a photoshop job. Seattle does not do cloudy and sunny, it does rain.

  14. Hughb

    SPOT became .net micro framework and is used in many many devices now on arm ,nxp chips etc. It's a thing of beauty and us very easy to code for using visual studio and C#. It's not real time but way easier than faffing around with arduino. Real time debugging anyone?

  15. DNTP

    I would be a lot more enthused about these things that track your heart rate, location, and lifestyle if I thought they were doing it primarily for the benefit of me, the person who paid money for the device.

    Although with all the phone book sized EULAs they come with, I wouldn't be surprised to find out it's actually a rental fee or restricted use license, and therefore not actually my watch to hack or something. What the hell, if some marketing company wants to slap a tracker on my appendages I they should damn well be offering to pay ME for wearing it.

    So… umm… how bout those smartwatches?

  16. LDS Silver badge

    Someone remembers Timex/Microsoft watches?

    Microsoft did already "smartwatches" when it teamed AFAIK with Timex to transfer PDA-like data to watches. IIRC it used the screen to transmit data to a light sensor on the watch before USB and Bluetooth were available.

    After all, nothing really new under the Sun. And still, there's little you can cramp into a wristwatch more useful than two hands showing time...

  17. phands

    Yet again, microsoft copies the ideas of others....late and poorly. No doubt this will be as embarrassing a failure as windows phone, zune and RT.

    1. dogged
      FAIL

      Somebody didn't read the article.

  18. Martin 47

    I quite like the one year battery life on my vivofit, just sayin'.......

  19. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Before it's time.

    It seems that all of these smart watches all have rubbish battery life. When I used to wear a watch, they would go for a year or more before needing a new battery. My watches sometimes didn't live as long as the battery if I forgot to take it off before playing drums.

    I'd be happy with a stylish eWatch that displayed the caller ID when the phone rang or a test message came in. The screen is too small to do anything very useful beyond that. I DO NOT want the bloody thing to vibrate. I work on electrical kit and the vibration would feel like a shock.

    Another product looking for a use more than anything.

  20. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Angel

    ExCeLLeNt!

    A new way for Microsoft to throw away their fortune. The sooner they're bankrupt, the sooner we can end The Dark Age of Computing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to paraphrase Douglas Adams...

    ...utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think smart watches are a pretty neat idea.

    (Or at least the members of the B-Ark do)

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