Skip the smart watch, Microsoft

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| April 15, 2013

It’s interesting to see how quickly the smart watch rumors are picking up speed. Moreover, considering that we’re only seeing wearable tech from companies like Pebble, the impact they are having can’t be ignored. And, for all intents and purposes, they should be ridiculously proud of their devices. I think it’s safe to say that if Pebble, along with its success on Kickstarter, didn’t create a device as attractive as their own smart watch, we wouldn’t be seeing such a big focus on that particular accessory.

We can’t discount other companies and their products, though: Meta Watch, i’m SpA, among others. They have their own smart watches, all hoping to grab their own shred of the growing fabric of consumer’s attention.

If you’ve been keeping track, then you know that these companies are about to pale in comparison, in just sheer magnitude mind you, to what’s coming down the road. What’s rumored to be coming down the road. Apple, LG, Google, and now Microsoft are rumored to be making their own variation on wearable tech – for the wrist.

I didn’t include Samsung in there, because as far as confirmations go, they’ve done what we’d expect so far. They haven’t officially announced anything quite yet, but when an executive for the company tells you they are working on it, I think we can assume that they are working on it.

In truth, the safest bet is to assume that they are all working on it, and that many of them are in one stage of development or another right now. If we’re talking about development based on rumors? I’d say that we’re looking at Apple and Samsung being the closest to having something on our wrists. LG and Google are probably next. And now we can throw Microsoft’s hat into the ring, too.

We have to be ready for the onslaught, too. When one of these companies, be it Samsung or Apple, announces their smart watch, the others are going to bring their own to the table as soon as possible. Out of all the companies, I’m having the most trouble latching onto the idea of Microsoft building a smart watch.

Not because I don’t think they can, per se. That isn’t it at all. After the company that created the Xbox 360 and Surface (both versions, I guess), I know that Microsoft can indeed create some hardware when they want to. I just don’t see a reason for them to do it. Sure, it makes sense that they’d want to jump on the wearable technology (potential) gravy train, but just because you can doesn’t mean you need to, right?

A pretty simple question that comes to mind, right off the bat, would be whether or not Microsoft would use Windows Phone in their smart watch. Or the idea, anyway. That “Metro UI” that isn’t called Metro UI, basically. And, if Microsoft is indeed working on a touchscreen smart watch, then those Live Tiles would make for a good watch interface, right?

I can agree with that. And that’s actually why I think if Microsoft wanted to jump into the smart watch race, they should just focus on software. Maybe team up with a high-end hardware partner that wants to create a smart watch, and make a slightly tweaked version of Windows Phone to run on a smart watch.

That’s just my take on Microsoft’s plans for a smart watch. In truth, one of the reasons why I don’t want them to devote time to the hardware side of a watch, is because I’d much prefer them to take that time and make a smartphone.

This is something that Microsoft has denied working on in the past, and I’m sure they’ll deny it again if they get a chance, because they do have a nice collection of hardware partners that they are currently working with. But, I think if Microsoft were to go ahead and create their own smartphone, it would actually bolster the competition to start making even better handsets. They want to sell Windows Phone devices, after all.

Or, it could make them cut and run. After all, Samsung’s efforts with Windows Phone pales in comparison to their Android efforts. And Nokia? Well, while it’s not likely, or even probable, it would be interesting to see a Lumia 920 running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, wouldn’t it?

But what do you think? Should Microsoft spend some time to make a smart watch running some variation of Windows Phone? Or should they put any and all effort into making their own hardware for Windows Phone? Let me know.