When will Microsoft finally roll out its smart watch 2.0?

When will Microsoft finally roll out its smart watch 2.0?

Summary: Will this be the year Microsoft debuts its long-rumored successor to the SPOT watch?


The rumors about Microsoft trying its hand again at fielding a smart watch have been circulating for a couple of years.


Earlier this month, there was another rash of stories about it, based on a Microsoft patent application, dating back to October 2012.

On Thursday, yet another report — this time from Forbes — claims the Microsoft smart watch will sync with not only Windows Phone, but also iPhones and Android devices. For anyone following Microsoft's new cross-platform software push as of late, this isn't too surprising. (That said, it will be interesting to see if support for Windows Phone trails the other two phone platforms, given its smaller market share.)

According to Forbes, some of Microsoft's Kinect engineers are involved in developing the new watch. Yep: Seems believable, given Alex Kipman, one of the main Kinect designers, is believed to be spearheading work on Windows for wearablesMicrosoft's Internet of Things team also is supposedly working on wearables as part of its mission.

My biggest question about Microsoft's smart watch 2.0 is when the company will finally announce and start shipping this thing. Hopefully the delta between those two dates won't be far apart. Maybe the Softies are just waiting for Apple to go first?

Topics: Emerging Tech, Android, iOS, Microsoft, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • shouldn't that be 3.0?

    I'm thinking this is the third shot at a smart watch from Microsoft. Remember the Timex Datalink?

    I loved that watch.
    • Timex Datalink was great!

      I bought one when they first came out. It was a great (if slightly homely) watch with a great calendar, contact list, and various other functions. The optical syncing feature was amazing for the time.

      Sadly, I think we're generally past the era of the wrist watch. The few people who still wear them are mainly interested in it as a fashion accessory, not a personal organizer. Every smart watch I've ever seen has been an over-sized, homely mess of anti-fashion. Perhaps the folks making smart watches should be pairing up with a great watch company for the design.
  • Smartwatch

    One of the problem current smartwatch is the style. People wear watch like they wear other accessories. It has to be look good.
    Tech companies should not make smartwatch, leave it to "watch" company. Just provide them the "core". Like OEM using android/WP and design the hardware around it. So each watch oem can have their own unique design. Isn't it great Rolex has a MS OS smartwatch with business, luxury design, and Swatch has it young, fun design with the same system?
    • Agreed

      They should partner with someone like Michael Koru or Armani Exchange on design. But even still, $250 for a device with a 1.5 inch display whose most talked about feature is that it measures heart rate and blood pressure? Feels like products for dupes with money.
      widow maker
    • Isn't that what Microsoft did with the SPOT watch?

      License it out to other companies? I think that there was a Swatch version. But, nobody bought into the concept, and it came and went.
  • MS Watch

    I hope Microsoft doesn't blow this. They have tough competition with Sammy and Apple, I hope they have something new and unique. A killer app for the watch?

    But I don't have my hopes set high after the Surface Mini incident.
    • incident...

      What's the Surface Mini incident?
      widow maker
      • SMM

        Surface Mini Murder.

        The incident was about killing the product few weeks before its announcement. It was decided that the device was not distinguishable enough from the competition.

        If they actually planned to release it without some "wow" inducing software (a fantastic note taking app for example - à la Courier), it would then have been a me-too device - but 2 years too late.
        • Well, there was a Courier video

          But never any public evidence that there was anything more than perhaps a prototype Courier device. Microsoft never mentioned a Surface Mini, I've never heard of someone saying that there was a Surface Mini device.

          I'm not saying that there weren't plans for a Mini (perhaps plans that were very far along), but it *never existed* except in rumors and speculation. You can't kill what never lived.

          It wasn't like Kin or the HP WebOS tablet - both of which shipped and then subjected to device infanticide.
        • I wouldn't necessarily say ...

          ... 'murder' or 'kill': It's hard to resurrect something that has been 'killed'.

          During a subsequent AMA, Panos stated that he believed there was a lot of life left in the ~8" device space.

          I think it's fair for Microsoft to pull-back on Surface Mini until they've got something clearly differentiated from partners' devices; Microsoft is, after all, strong on partnerships.
        • Surface mini is not dead though...

          Just delayed.
    • June 2

      would be a very good day to release the"Mini"
      • Microsoft should wait for Gemini to be released

        The launch date of the touch first version of Office for Windows is a much better date. Why release an 8 inch Surface when the iPad has a modern version of Office while Surface users are still stuck with the old point and click version?
  • what do people actually want from a smartwatch?

    That is the question I'm stuck on with these things. As widow maker pointed out its a 1-1.5" display...

    So is it so one could pay $200 to save the effort of pulling your phone out of the pocket to check what that SMS/email/facebook update was (so a notification centre on your wrist), or something else?

    Whatever it is - it'd still be good for Microsoft (or a partner) to release one that connects to WinPhone if for no other reason than it provides another checkmark on the comparison charts. I.e. Samsung Smart Watch - check, Iphone smartwatch - check, WinPhone smartwatch - check(if one is released).

    Unless MS comes up with something really killer like a holographic display or 3D display so the virtual screen is larger than 1-1.5" isn't the rest of it just really doing the checkmark thing anyway? Maybe they could tie cortana in and in combination with a Bluetooth headset so you can go all Dick Tracey on your watch.

    I'd still prefer a nice Omega or something that is a timeless classic any day myself but that's the great thing about free markets and competition - something for everyone.
  • If it is not as good looking as the Moto 360 - MS should give up on Watches

    Microsoft do not understand consumers space. And should just give up, unless they have some resally compelling hardware and software mix. Otherwsie they will again look really foolish and just 'lagging behind' as usual.

    They should concentrate on their remaining strengths in the Enterprise software and services.
    • "Microsoft do not understand consumers space."? Really???

      You're talking about the company with the most visible and most used of all products, Windows, and then you have to be blind to not notice that they're also into gaming and productivity software, and is also in the cloud with the what is probably going to be the largest cloud system of all, and then there is the MS presence on the internet with MSN and Outlook and Bing, and in the last 2+ years with the Surface tablets and with Windows Phone.

      In essence, you must be living on another planet, because, when it comes to consumers, there is no other company that is bigger when considering all the things that Microsoft is involved in. And then, there is the enterprise sector, which MS dominates, big time.

      Perhaps you'd be helped a bit by getting out of that cave you've been living in.
      • In my cave Windows doesn't dominate anymore

        Some "caves" are just different :-)
        • Caves don't have Windows, and I'm pretty sure that your cave is

          no different, and that you're still preferring to stay in the stone age without Windows.
          • Caves do have windows

            Do you want to bet?
            I don't understand your comment, so stone age is a world without windows and the caves around you don't have windows - so I suppose you live in the stone age not me.
            Your reasoning keeps failing :)
  • The killer smartwatch device needs to have these in it:

    1. voice command / voice recognition (similar to what is in SKYPE translator)
    yes, it needs to talk and translate for you and able to show you direction where to go etc.
    or at least integrate with your phone to do useful things.
    1.1 it needs to talk to you in any language you want.

    2. Skype integration so you can call and talk to someone on there and see their face
    3. integration with other devices (your phone, your surface, your laptop, etc.)
    to do useful things for you (taking notes, record conversations, etc.)
    3.5 it needs to take notes for you if you are in a classroom or meeting, it needs to take notes and translate the notes to OneNote for example and email you that note or put that note in the cloud folder for you.
    3.6 it needs to integrate with your content in the cloud
    it does not need to host too much information on the device, just a conduit between the cloud and you.
    3.7 it needs to allow you to buy things through the watch by just asking it to search BING for an item, price lookup, location that sells the item, then allow you to purchase SAFELY with your stored credit card information, etc.
    3.8 it needs to be able to remind you of important dates and occasions
    3.9 it needs to help you manage your contacts
    3.95 it needs to help you manage your schedules

    4. projection of video and/or images onto other surface area
    example is a projection of a video onto the wall or your other devices (surface or windows)
    5. the smart watch should be able to integrate/team up with other smart watches of its own kinds
    6. the smart watch should really be water resistant if possible