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Microsoft Working With Suppliers on Designs for Watch-Like Device

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the wind-it-up dept.

Microsoft 260

An anonymous reader writes with news that Microsoft may be working on a smartwatch. "The modern smartwatch market hardly even exists, and yet it's already starting to feel very crowded. Hot on the heels of plans (official and otherwise) from Apple and Samsung, the Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft has also been shopping around for parts to build a 'watch-style device.' While details are scarce as to what that would entail, unnamed supplier executives tell the newspaper that Microsoft has been asking for 1.5-inch touchscreens. We wouldn't count on seeing an ultra-small Surface anytime soon, however -- these executives say they've visited Microsoft's campus, but they don't know whether the Windows developer is fully committed to its wrist-worn endeavor or just experimenting. If the project exists at all, of course. Still, there's finally a glimmer of hope for anyone who's still mourning the loss of their beloved SPOT watches."

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A smart watch? (0, Flamebait)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43449811)

I can't remember the last time I saw somebody wearing a watch except for some feeb trying to prove something by having a Rolex and pointing it out. If you need the time your smartphone is synched with the USNO and multiple GPS satellites that must know the time to such a degree that your distance from them alters your reference frame. What part of "people don't wear watches any more" is confusing to Microsoft?

This is I think where they're slow-following and don't even understand what they're following. It's sad. Microsoft really needs somebody with a clue, and they haven't got one.

Re:A smart watch? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43449831)

I'm wearing a very cheap digital watch right now, and you're probably going to buy two new smartphones before its battery has run out.

That's no argument for a smart watch, but it does demolish your "watches are useless" argument pretty thoroughly.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43449905)

If it really is a very cheap digital watch, it will probably be worn out before the year is done. My phone has lasted a lot longer than that.

Re:A smart watch? (2, Informative)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year ago | (#43450037)

I wear a $25 Casio metal body watch. It has worked for 3 years (with no battery change) and it is still like new.

A few have criticized me that with my age and position it is not fit for me. I said as a CS scientist, I prefer digits to bars!

Re:A smart watch? (2)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43450075)

I read your post, and thought, "$25 sure isn't cheap...." then I went and looked at the prices of watches. Wow. They've gone up since the last time I looked.

Re:A smart watch? (3, Insightful)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43450217)

A few have criticized me that with my age and position it is not fit for me.

Have you noted that those people should not be trusted with anything important?

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450331)

Amazingly true.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Froboz23 (690392) | about a year ago | (#43449957)

He didn't say watches are useless. He said no one wears them anymore. The last time I wore a watch was sometime in the 90s.

Calculators are very useful. How many people do you know (other than engineering students) who carry a calculator in their pocket?

Re:A smart watch? (1, Funny)

Kleen13 (1006327) | about a year ago | (#43450163)

He didn't say watches are useless. He said no one wears them anymore. The last time I wore a watch was sometime in the 90s. Calculators are very useful. How many people do you know (other than engineering students) who carry a calculator in their pocket?

Ah, but now you are looking at the "tool in the toolbox" theory. Don't awake the Bearded Dragon.... Seriously. Don't fuckin do it. Me.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#43450313)

I want something like Google Glasses, but for human augmentation and not as a glorified ad delivery device. You wouldn't need a watch if you had such glasses.

Speaking of calculators, it should be able to recognize math stuff and help with calculations.
Basically if I write or see some simple math problems, I should be able to ask it to calculate the answer, add up a bunch numbers etc. Maybe even look up more complicated stuff on wolfram alpha.
More here: http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3478821&cid=42956909 [slashdot.org]

By the way, most phones nowadays have a calculator feature, so most people with phones don't need to carry around a specialized calculator.

Re:A smart watch? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450317)

I'm drooling at the thought of fucking your asshole. May I take an asshole pass?

Re:A smart watch? (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43450351)

I want something like Google Glasses

Sounds good, until you work out that you can't wear them walking through the city on a Friday night without a risk of going down for ten years for recording child porn after a scantily clad girl bends over. It will get treated just like deliberately putting a camera in a high school shower.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

multiben (1916126) | about a year ago | (#43449833)

I completely agree, but last time this topic came up I said something very similar and I apparently underestimated how many 'watch people' hang out here.

Re:A smart watch? (-1, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43449909)

The Beast has 80,000 people working for them and they encourage them to be active in social media like /. They are, however, cautioned against replying to or moderating me specifically. Downmodding me can lose you moderation privileges here if the metamods don't agree with your modding - which they usually don't when the downmods are corporate biased. I've put some stuff here that was well and rightfully downmodded, supported by meta-moderation - and I don't feel good about that, but that is the exception, not the rule. I can't take that stuff back now, because once it's on /., it's permanent. But that is rare stuff. Generally speaking if you get modpoints and downmod me it's not going to be supported in metamoderation unless I was (as I often do) going off on a wild tangent. I know that when I do that I'm going to get negative mods, and spend them carefully.

If you establish a rep for being often right you can be safe from the astroturfers too.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43449979)

If you establish a rep for being often right you can be safe from the astroturfers too.

I'll give you a definite "sort of" agree.

The MS reputation managers WILL spend considerable amounts of their sockpuppet karma to bury opinions they REALLY don't want discussed. They'll also frequently post reams of copy/paste "discussion" about offtopic trivia to push interesting topics lower down the page, buried under several dozen nitpicking comments.

They'll use their key personalized sockpuppet persona for that one too - hariyfeet is a frequent culprit.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43450047)

I'll give you that. It took me something like ten years to teach them manners WRT me, and that doesn't extend to anybody else. I had to lead their newbies into countless traps. It does however extend to my nym everywhere else on the Internet now. If you take my nym on someplace I haven't, you're sure to be unopposed.

Unfortunately there's a cost. Legitimate posters with honest opinions or questions don't dare argue with me now. Most of my posts go unanswered and unmoderated. I've lost the ability to gently guide the inquisitor to something new and different.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450141)

That's one of the reasons I mostly post AC these days.

When MS decided to go with online reputation persona management software in a big way, they broke most of the karma/moderation systems. Reddit survived better, even though you can't have open discussion in tech areas like /r/linux or /r/technology, because they had a diversified portfolio of discussion topics.

Slashdot's been hit hardest because of its narrower focus and initial " technology related news with a heavy slant towards Linux and Open Source issues" angle. Once it became a vehicle for Microsoft marketing and smear campaigns, most of the old guard deserted.

Readership is still declining. Personally, I'm hanging in here to see how it ends - with a bang or a whimper...

Re:A smart watch? (1, Troll)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43450215)

Reddit's not better. Try to find references for the PC meltdown on /r/Microsoft. They're trying to pretend it didn't happen, and the stories get unlinked. Let's not even talk about /r/science, where echo chamber defines science.

/. has some special properties including its write-only nature and its no-censorship stance. That you can't undo stuff here is a very special thing. The moderation may often suck but every comment and story ever posted (except for one) is still here to be read. And that one can still be read somewhere else, linked from the story where /. said "we have to delete this one for legal reasons, so here's where you can read what it said."

It makes for a sincere honesty, a more intense self-editing to know that once out push "submit" you had better mean it or "you should have known better".

You're not going to get that anywhere else. Like Theregister has snark as its raison d'etre, /. has its commitment to letting us make fools of ourselves any way we want if we will agree to make that foolishness immortal. That's why we don't post here in our right names for the most part. We all have views we espouse and feel confident about - but we've got to put bread on the table too, and putting our honest thoughts behind our right names would get in the way of that - especially if we're wrong, since the Internet neither forgives nor forgets.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450297)

Oh, there's no doubt that Slashdot WAS special, and that many of the things that made it great still exist. I just don't think it's going to survive. The problem is that the karma system turned out to be not defensible when it was attacked by people who wanted to game the results.

In many ways, it's not unexpected - readership of around three million unique views a month makes sockpuppet teams here an extremely cheap way of getting your astrorurf in front of highly targeted eyeballs. The trouble is, those eyeballs didn't come here to be marketed at, and the noise to signal level means the place just isn't as much fun any more.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43450341)

I'll agree /. isn't as much fun any more as it once was, and that in its charter its end was writ: The value of a free thing trends to zero.

But /. has some miles and years yet because of its special offer. Here you can put your opinion and it will stand for all time - whether you will it or no. It takes some grit to say stuff here. Other places you can spark your wit and if you miss it will be lost to time. Not so here. Here we are going to flip that stuff back into your face unto the end of days. It's a hard audience, but if you can play it /.rs have some pull.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450367)

Perhaps.

But my prediction is that while the discussions won't vanish, they'll be buried under a flood of indifference.

Much like this whole discussion will shortly be buried away from casual viewers...

Re:A smart watch? (1)

ron-l-j (1725874) | about a year ago | (#43450389)

I decided to come back after a long break. Maybe a year or more. I run all of the major operating systems, desktop, and servers. I work in IT at a medium size company. And I agree that I have seen more micro$oft stories. I will make it my leisure/lunch time goal to comment, and write about tech on /. I do agree that /. has changed some, but I still find my self laughing when I read the comments. There are still insightful, and funny people around.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450185)

Oh, and just to add, if your humor detector is broken, I was joking. It would be ridiculous to think that MS would fool around the Internet with some silly "sockpuppet campaigns".

Re:A smart watch? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43449995)

Oh crap. This comment happened way too high in the tree and now is going to get modbombed for hubris - as it should be.

Re:A smart watch? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450263)

The Beast has 80,000 people working for them and they encourage them to be active in social media like /. They are, however, cautioned against replying to or moderating me specifically. Downmodding me can lose you moderation privileges here if the metamods don't agree with your modding - which they usually don't when the downmods are corporate biased.

Oh man that is the most hilariously self-absorbed thing i have *ever* read on this site! :D The fact that you think microsoft would give 2 shits about the opinions in the comments on the stories on slashdot is funny enough but that you actually believe they give a shit about your comments specifically is absolute gold!

The fact is this site started out as a pro-linux and pro-OSS site - and we all know how microsoft is regarded in those circles - so any positive ms comments were met with a barrage of abuse, even legitimate ones. Then trolls started to realize how easy it is to get a massive response by trolling /. with pro-ms comments.

I know you actually believe it is some big conspiracy and you're near the center of it, that's cute and i'm sure the fantasy that microsoft employs an army of astroturfers that fear you must feel pretty cool for you.

Re:A smart watch? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43449835)

Pay more attention.

Re:A smart watch? (2, Insightful)

skirmish666 (1287122) | about a year ago | (#43449841)

The tablet / touch laptop market hasn't been going so well for them, they need a new form factor to botch for Window Blue.

Re:A smart watch? (5, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#43449863)

I stopped using a watch ten years ago, in favour of my phone. This winter I got myself a new wristwatch, and started wearing them again. The watch can get bumped and scratched without worry, works fine in bad weather, I never have to worry about recharging it. And, I cna check the time without having to pull out my phone, turning it on, the putting it back again.

I fully understand all the people that use a phone as their only time tevice. I did so myself for ten years and was happy with that. But after going back to a wristwatch, I do fully understand the people that prefer that too. To me it really is more convenient than the phone. I also like how it looks on me; that's pretty important too.

With that said, I don't think I'm interested in a _smart_ watch. The point of the wristwatch, to me, is the ruggedness and the simplicitly. A smartwatch seems to throw away exactly those features and become, well, a phone on the wrist. I have a phone already. Safe and secure in a pocket, not out on my wrist.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

pmontra (738736) | about a year ago | (#43450233)

I use a very old digital watch when I go hiking on the mountains (my phone is usually in airplane more or switched off). I put the watch in a closed pocket or strap it on the backpack (it's has a velcro strap) because I can't tolerate anything around a wrist anymore: I just lost the habit some 20 years ago. There are almost no other use cases for a watch for me, certainly not for a smart one that I won't wear.

That said, I'm sure smart watches will sell and maybe I'll make some money writing software for them if some customer pays me to do it.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450255)

Depends. If you live in cold weather region, you need to unclothe yourself. which is draw back. May not be the case with mobile. And no, I'd hate to wear scathed watch.(obsessive compulsive disorder here). It's much easier to scratch watch than phone. You move hands around. Especially if you physical job.
Depends what you mean on bad weather and watch. Not all of them are water proof. You can tell smartphone to tell you time over earplugs, i am pretty sure there are apps for that.
Looks is not important in cold environment half of time, since you will llok good with nice watch and cold weather clothes.

Further more, in most offices there are clocks on the walls.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450403)

With that said, I don't think I'm interested in a _smart_ watch.

A Blue Watch Of Death is what you need

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43449867)

I can't remember the last time I saw somebody wearing a watch except for some feeb trying to prove something by having a Rolex and pointing it out. If you need the time your smartphone is synched with the USNO and multiple GPS satellites that must know the time to such a degree that your distance from them alters your reference frame. What part of "people don't wear watches any more" is confusing to Microsoft?

This is I think where they're slow-following and don't even understand what they're following. It's sad. Microsoft really needs somebody with a clue, and they haven't got one.

Ok, so Apple, Samsung and Google are equally clueless? They are all reportedly working on a smart-watch [cnet.com] .

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450393)

Samsung and Google have said they're working on a watch. A bunch of journalists have said apple is.

Re:A smart watch? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43449875)

Arguably, the problem isn't so much that 'nobody wears watches anymore'(though cellphones certainly haven't done them any favors); but nobody wears watches in the market range amenable to technology companies.

You've got your $2 digitals, unexciting but pretty solid at telling time for ages on a teeny little battery, fairly durable, and cheap enough that nobody cries if 'fairly' turns out not to be durable enough. Unless your 'smart watch' plan involves almost no money and almost no power, it'd better do something really cool if it is going to sway people away from these; because these things are cheaper and longer-running than anything 'smart' is going to be.

Then you've got the watches-as-jewelry segment, which spans a wide variety of tastes and price points; but jewelry-style luxury markets are more or less the opposite of what tech companies are good at. It will be a lot easier to sneak in here on price and care-and-feeding; but interest in 'this watch looks exactly like the other 10 million we paid foxconn to stamp out; because that's how economies of scale work, m'kay?' may be a problem.

If you had a 'smart watch' concept that was compelling enough to get the cheap seats to pay more and recharge more, or the jewelry section to embrace a disposable widget instead of some ostensibly 'timeless' fashion item, you'd have something that people would wear watches for, if necessary. That, though, is the tricky bit.

Re:A smart watch? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43450039)

There's another market segment too: watches (like mine) that do things like compass, altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, heart rate, etc.

Sometimes the appropriate place for a "smart" device is on your wrist.

Try telling a rock climber they're better off carrying a phone in their chalk bag or whatever. Or a backpacker on a week-long hike that they're better off carrying their smartphone which only holds a charge for 3 days. (As a backpacker myself, if you told me to just carry extra batteries or portable chargers I'd laugh at you.)

Of course, that doesn't mean I think the appropriate place for a Microsoft smart device is on your wrist. I don't know the details yet but I probably won't want one.

Re:A smart watch? (3, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | about a year ago | (#43450079)

I believe the problem with the coming crop of "smart watches" is that they all need a phone to connect to. They're really more of an extra terminal to your phone rather than a standalone device.

So if you're a rock climber or hiker, all the negative aspects of bringing a phone apply to these terminals too. You really need to get an actua watch with the appropriate functions.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43450155)

Yes, I agree. That is what I was getting at, though I didn't put it in those words.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#43450329)

Last I've heard about the Apple one is that they were having trouble getting the battery to last for _half_ a day. DO NOT WANT (as a climber/hiker/skier but also as a lowly geek).

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450435)

There's another market segment too: watches (like mine) that do things like compass, altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, heart rate, etc.

More of a market niche, than segment, and even then I'd think that ruggedness and durability are going to be more important than fancy high tech features.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

TheEyes (1686556) | about a year ago | (#43450187)

The market most smartwatches are aiming for is the market most watch-wearing millennials belong to: watch as practical fashion accessory. It's the same reason I still wear glasses rather than contacts or getting laser surgery: I like the way I look in glasses. I wear a hat--a Stetson, in fact--rather than a hoodie or a baseball cap for the same reason, and I have a nice, middle-of-the-road Seiko that I wear, not because it's impossible for me to find out the time any other way, but because I like the look of it.

A smartwatch adds a little more "practical" to the "practical fashion accessory". I like where the Pebble is going; if version 2 has a sapphire watch crystal then I'll definitely be on the preorder list; heck I might have been on this one if I had heard about the Kickstarter project before it closed.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year ago | (#43450231)

I'm seeing expensive ugly technological watches everywhere. They're called Nike Fuel and they don't even tell time!

I think a fitness watch that happens to also display your inbox could be a hit. And I think the tech has miniaturized to the point where it's feasible finally. The Pebble should be proof of that.

Re:A smart watch? (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#43449897)

Lots of people wear watches, either to tell time or for fashion, or both.
 
The big problem with a smart watch is that 1.5" isn't enough space to display any meaningful amount of data, and worse, the context that it's in. I can think of a few situations where reading a ticker tape on my wrist of a short email or text message might be useful, but 200x200 pixels is really only useful for animated GIFs of cats and telling the time.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450209)

Lots of people wear watches, either to tell time or for fashion, or both.

An acquaintance has one of those huge and gaudy gold trophy watches. Every single photo he's in his wristwatch is front and center. He likes to send me links to various wristwatch websites and forums, along with comments such as "Isn't that the ugliest POS you've ever seen?" or "Drool!" or whatever. My response every time is "Uh, it's a watch, right?" which he takes very personally.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450447)

The big problem with a smart watch is that 1.5" isn't enough space to display any meaningful amount of data, and worse, the context that it's in. I can think of a few situations where reading a ticker tape on my wrist of a short email or text message might be useful, but 200x200 pixels is really only useful for animated GIFs of cats and telling the time.

200x200 pixels? Bah! Retina iWatch! Full HD and it looks equivalent to sitting in the 14th row of an imax theatre if you hold it right up to your eye and squint.

Re:A smart watch? (3, Insightful)

hism (561757) | about a year ago | (#43449931)

That's silly, plenty of people still wear watches. Your hypothesis might hold for a small demographic of the younger generation who are particularly technically inclined, but even I know of multiple Microsoft and Amazon employees who would never be caught without their smartphones, yet still wear a watch; partly for the practicality and partly for style. And they need not be some gaudy Rolex to achieve that. On the note of practicality, I'm a bit behind the latest tech trends and only recently switched to a smartphone, but now I'm considering a watch for one simple pragmatic reason: watches don't have a maximum battery life of two days. Speaking of that, if this 'smart watch' has such limited battery, I imagine it'd be an instant deal-breaker for many people.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

gkndivebum (664421) | about a year ago | (#43450107)

Watches are still useful. I wear a watch from time to time -- I own 4. A dive watch from St Moritz - a Momentum M50 [momentumwatch.com] ; a low-key dress watch from Skagen [skagen.com] ; a Breitling Old Navitimer [breitling.com] ; and my grandfather's Breitling Montbrilliant [google.com] pocket watch. The latter two don't get out of the safe much any more.

Re:A smart watch? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450219)

You're a fag, dude.

Seriously, read what you just wrote and then try to keep a straight face as you deny being a faggot.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year ago | (#43450007)

"I can't remember the last time I saw somebody wearing a watch except for some feeb trying to prove something by having a Rolex and pointing it out. If you need the time your smartphone is synched with the USNO and multiple GPS satellites that must know the time to such a degree that your distance from them alters your reference frame. What part of "people don't wear watches any more" is confusing to Microsoft? "

The part about how most people aren't you.

MOST people DO wear watches. Still. And there are good reasons: your watch doesn't lose its charge (except for maybe once a year); your watch stays on when you go to bed, you don't have to pick it up off the nightstand to see what time it is; you don't have to dig your watch out of your bag to see what time it is; most watches are accurate enough today that USNO hardly matters; etc. etc. etc.

Probably the biggest reason, though, is that this is probably not primarily a watch. It is also, and probably more importantly, an adjunct to your smartphone: showing caller id and other alerts, probably music controls, and so on.

As such, I still think it's a dumb idea, but for reasons far different from yours. For one thing, it will probably have a rechargeable battery only lasting a couple of days. For another, it will duplicate a lot of functionality that is already in your phone, just on your wrist.

I can understand why some people might want them. I'm just not one of those people.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#43450287)

MOST people DO wear watches.

MOST usually means >50%, and I can assure you that most people don't wear watches today. A recent survey, even in the US shows that 68% people do not wear a watch. It is also likely, that there has never been at time that MOST people have worn a watch, even in the 90's. Maybe in the US, or other highly developed countries, but not 50% of all people, and definitely not today.

That said, a smart watch was a great fantasy idea of the 90's. I, personally, can't see it being feasible today except for a very small niche market, and I don't think that small of a market would make the product profitable.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450055)

I wear a watch. It is cheap (£20), waterproof, stainless cased and stays on me almost all the time (judging by its predecessors, it will last >5 years before the battery dies) . If I need the time I just glance at my wrist, which I can do with my hands full or occupied, underwater, or covered in jam/cement dust/grease/crap.
I often have a smartphone in my pocket, but it is a pain to leave the workplace and clean all the gunk off my hands so that i can fumble in my pocket for my phone.

Re:A smart watch? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450303)

silly neckbeard.

just because YOU don't have a good reason for a wristwatch, doesn't mean no one else does.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

andydread (758754) | about a year ago | (#43450309)

oh of course if Apple does it then its the best thing since slice bread.

Re:A smart watch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450323)

Sounds like your the one without a clue.

Better file the Pebble patents fast (0)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#43449819)

Because otherwise they'll be buried in suits from MS and Samsung before you can say Prior Art.

Patents??!? (1)

mbstone (457308) | about a year ago | (#43449963)

On the Two-Way Wrist TV [dicktracymuseum.com] ??!?

Possibly the original smartwatch? (5, Informative)

RudyValencia (728937) | about a year ago | (#43449821)

There was once a smartwatch called the Timex Datalink. I remember when it came out. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Datalink [wikipedia.org] for more information.

Re:Possibly the original smartwatch? (2)

mbstone (457308) | about a year ago | (#43450051)

I had a watch circa 1995 that required an annual subscription to a broadcast data service that would send, for example, sports scores.

Like every other similar service ever offered on "smart" watches, the OEM decided to 86 the data feed after a couple of years, and I ended up throwing the thing away.

I don't remember the name of the OEM, can anybody refresh my memory?

Every New Years' Day the motherfucker would wake me up at 7 AM to remind me that it was New Years' Day.

Re:Possibly the original smartwatch? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450151)

There was once a smartwatch called the Timex Datalink. I remember when it came out. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Datalink [wikipedia.org] for more information.

Your limerick sucks

Re:Possibly the original smartwatch? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year ago | (#43450291)

Yeah, I had one of them. It really kind of sucked tbh. It would sync (download only if I remember correctly) contact information from my computer (name, address, phone number), and memos, but that was about it.

Johnny come late (0)

cerberusss (660701) | about a year ago | (#43449941)

Unbelievable, what is wrong with Microsoft and consumer electronics? When all the really successful players just keep their mouths shut, and [i]after[/i] all the moderately successful companies start announcing their vaporware, only then, [i]only then[/i] Microsoft comes and and says "yeah yeah, we've been working on that too".

Yeah whatever.

Late to the rumor game now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450085)

Microsoft didn't say anything, nor did Apple, in fact the only one that confirmed is Samsung, but you're seriously now considering "late" to be the company that the rumor mill got to last?! Even if it's a matter of weeks?!

Re:Late to the rumor game now? (1)

cerberusss (660701) | about a year ago | (#43450243)

With the Pebble watch finished and being shipped, I'd think it would look better on Microsoft if they came up with something different.

hey microsoft! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43449973)

better "watch" out when entering new markets!

Re:hey microsoft! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450211)

They have nothing to worry if they time their moves right.

The MS road-tested way: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43449981)

Just wait until Apple releases theirs so you know how to do it right, then clone it like you did with Windows etc.

Re:The MS road-tested way: (0)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year ago | (#43450043)

Windows did a far better job --- even today --- than the Mac did in effective user interface. The API code in Windows is deep, complex and required a lot forethought, but the end result is simple and predictable.

There are a fair number of reasons to knock Windows, but the user interface in place since Windows 98 goes far beyond what any other operating system has to offer today on the API level.

Now Microsoft is destined to ruin this in the future, but dismissing the Windows user interface as a mere clone of what Apple had going on in the 1980s doesn't do justice to how nice Windows is on the user interface level. Linux still is way behind and OS X is nice but also way behind.

Re:The MS road-tested way: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450111)

Oh Christ. Do we have to go through this discussion again?

Used to have a calculator on my watch. (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43449989)

Also had one with an AM/FM Radio built in. I'm their target demographic. Guess what? I DON'T WEAR A FUCKING WATCH ANYMORE.

Re:Used to have a calculator on my watch. (1)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year ago | (#43450057)

I really don't know who does either. I'm sure it is more than I think, but it seems a strain to believe it could even be as high as 20%. Even 15% seems high.

Re:Used to have a calculator on my watch. (3, Interesting)

Camembert (2891457) | about a year ago | (#43450127)

You must really be in a different part of the world and/or different age group than me. Most people around me (I just looked around the office, many CS engineers here fyi) wear a watch.

Re:Used to have a calculator on my watch. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year ago | (#43450205)

Where on earth do you live?

Almost everyone I know wears a watch, including me, and my peer group extends from age 18 up to about 55. I can't pick out one demographic among them all that doesn't wear a watch.

It's more of an outlier to not be wearing one.

Mine is a simple battery powered one with a mechanical action since I prefer a clock face over a digital one.

Re:Used to have a calculator on my watch. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450283)

Target demographic? Fucking assholes like you? Dream on, nasty troll.

Re:Used to have a calculator on my watch. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450419)

"I'm their target demographic. Guess what? I DON'T WEAR A FUCKING WATCH ANYMORE."

I like that you think you're there target demographic and then make it quite clear that you're not.

A new product is being designed, it's not for you, that's great. But if it's not for you don't pretend it is then make a nonsensical rant about how it's not, because that makes absolutely no sense.

Between the number of people who still wear watches, the success of Pebble's kickstarter campaign, and comments on forums and the internet it seems that regardless of what you think, there is demand.

So go play with the devices that do interest you because guess what? No one gives a fuck about the fact you apparently don't want this device.

Sad... (2, Interesting)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about a year ago | (#43450001)

If this report is true, MS is fucking pathetic. I'm not particularly "anti-MS": I just don't care. I think in terms of, "Whatever gets the job done." But, upon hearing reports that their competitors are doing something with a "smart watch," MS now has to slut themselves to create a "me-too" product...? Have they no self-respect? They're like an old whore chasing down Johns from corner to corner, hoping someone will throw a buck their way, while everyone else looks away in embarrassment.

Re:Sad... (2)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year ago | (#43450065)

They were a software company --- and once upon a time possibly the best that ever existed in clean, crisp, effective design.

Today, I'm not sure what they are. I don't think they know either.

I wish they went back to being a software company, the world needs it. But it won't happen.

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450173)

a me-too to what? the unannounced rumored product from other companies? i suppose apple was first rumored so they must have thought of it first, then samsung was rumored to be doing one so they must be second (but copied apple) and now that someone has come up with a rumor that microsoft is making one that must mean that they have copied the rumored products of samsung and apple. is samsung pathetic too because they announced they are working on a smart watch? or are they ok because apple haven't confirmed anything because it's just a rumor? in which case is the rumor of microsoft developing a smart watch a me-too rumor and thus a copy of apple's but not samsung's rumor? and who are they copying if they officially announce it?

ONE WORD: DICK TRACY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450005)

Who, by the way, is well-known by the likes of Danny Bonaduce, Eddie Murphy, LL Cool J, Matt Lauer, Lil Wayne, and Hugh Grant, to name a few, because, well, Dude Looks Like a Lady !!

What demand is being satisfied? (2)

CosmicMuse (2751635) | about a year ago | (#43450045)

I keep seeing articles popping up about 'smartwatches" from Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Apple, and even Google. What I never see is someone telling me where the demand for this market is. Smart watches, to me, don't seem to serve any particular specialized function. Battery conservation is a joke, unless the tech world has suddenly gotten squeamish about throwing a phone on a microUSB charger. Touchscreen, quick searching, quick clock access, easy navigation, easy access to ... the smartwatch offers only minuscule improvements on the access a smart phone already has, while giving only a third of the screen real estate. And this is on top of the cash investment for a new device that largely emulates ALREADY OWNED hardware.

Honestly, all the recent smartwatch buzz has seemed, to me, to be a response to the impending arrival of Google Glass. (With the exception of Google's own team, who I would assume is working on a watch just in case this actually IS a new thing people want.) Other tech companies know Google Glass is going to be hugely influential, and smartwatches smell like an attempt to try and offer a low-cost alternative that has the side benefit of not being stuck in the shadow of a market icon to beat (iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, Google Glass, etc).

Kinect Watch To Measure My Masturbation Habits (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450069)

i hope it comes with a masturbation measuring app, so i can jerk off and count the number of reps, pressure, date, photo of the event to match up with previous attempts to judge how healthy bloodflow to my penis is.

i hope it also comes with an app for my rectum, where it can safely be inserted, take some pictures and gain some medical insights to the state of my system and safely navigate itself out, like a roomba, through my anus.

Looking forward to the first proper smartwatch (2)

Camembert (2891457) | about a year ago | (#43450077)

I am all for the development of a proper smartwatch. None that are now on the market are really compelling in my opinion. I expect Google and Apple to come up with something much more useful. For me, Apple developing a watch is a more interesting rumour than the television set rumors. Like the Google Glass, I see a proper smart watch as the next step towards fully wearable, near invisible computing. Initially I can see it working together with a phone in your pocket, eventually I think it will not need a separate phone anymore.. If the rumour is correct that Apple plans to run a version of iOS on it, then that means that the device will be much more powerful than what is on the market today. I expect Google also to work in this vein. So what could such a watch do next to what the limited models can't do now? In the case of Apple I can imagine it working together with Siri, you could for example ask your watch the way to X and it shows a map as you go. Or do an immediate video call. Etcetera. As I wrote above, the idea of having completely wearable computing is very attractive to me. Slashdot may have many nay-sayers (then again many slashdotters ridiculised the ipad and iphone...), I think that Google Glass and proper smartwatches will start the next step in truly personal computing.

You'd be surprised (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450099)

Link to a 2003 article about MS & watches
http://www.pcworld.com/article/111035/article.html [pcworld.com]

Multitouch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450105)

Microsoft has been asking for 1.5-inch touchscreens

I suppose multitouch is out of the question?

Re:Multitouch? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43450239)

I don't know if I would put any kind of touch feature in such a small screen. Just some buttons around it.

Samsung did a watch (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450115)

http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_s9110-2885.php

and cancelled another one

http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_watch_phone-418.php

quit making it out like apple "invented" the latest watch trend, and samsung are following

Re:Samsung did a watch (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about a year ago | (#43450179)

I looked at your links, and honestly would you want them? Don' think so. If there is one thing that Apple is good at, it is making devices that people actually like to use. Similarly as we all know there were mp3 players and smartphones before the iphone, and they were simply far less pleasant to use. It is not simply marketing. As an example, looking back, it seems so simple and evident how the original iPhone works, but it cannot have been easy to come up with the general usability as smartphones were so awful before. Back then I had a Windows based smartphone that my company gave me and the thing was simply an irritating pain in the butt. I even went back to my non-smart Nokia back then. Mind, I expect the same user-focus from whatever Google is cooking up at this moment.

I haven't worn a wrist watch for decades (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#43450125)

I don't wear a wrist watch, and haven't for a long time. I have been working in various industries that require you to do frequent hand-washing (food industry, childcare, healthcare) and wearing a watch is not a good idea.
Instead I have used belt clip watches and pocket watches, and a stopwatch hanging round my neck.

These days a cellphone provides all the features of a watch, except for the wearing on the wrist part.

In the past some manufacturers have tried calculator watches, but the controls weren't user friendly. A wrist device with the basic functions of a cellphone is easily achievable in todays technology, but the screen would be too small for it to be as useful for the features of a smartphone.

Re:I haven't worn a wrist watch for decades (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year ago | (#43450213)

I work in a chemistry lab, so I wash my hands several times a day. I still wear a watch - it just sits higher up my arm than my wrist. So, I guess it's more accurate to call it an armwatch.

Re:I haven't worn a wrist watch for decades (1)

andydread (758754) | about a year ago | (#43450349)

I wear a watch. it never comes off. its even touch screen with features like altimeter, compass, barometer etc. I shower everyday and the watch stays on even in the shower, when I go to the beach or the pool. Why do you have to remove a modern watch when you wash your hands?

Copy, Copy, Copy.... (-1, Troll)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year ago | (#43450157)

So MS is now trying to get ahead of the curve.

Forget their time-honored tactic of copying Apple three years after they launch any given product.

Now, MS is copying rumors about possible Apple products, that may or may not actually ever launch. Pretty embarrassing...

Re:Copy, Copy, Copy.... (1, Insightful)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43450203)

Microsoft doesn't just copy Apple, they can also copy what Apple is copying.

Microsoft is scared of missing the next bubble? (4, Insightful)

Craefter (71540) | about a year ago | (#43450175)

I am quite sure if Apple, Google and Samsung are working on developing a flying turd, Microsoft also wants one. I don't see a lot of innovative development lately. These tech giants only want to keep on par with eachother without really developing their own identity. So much for progress.

Just imagine... (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | about a year ago | (#43450193)

how bad Fallout would have been if the Pipboy 3000 had a "Windows Ready" sticker on it. OTOH hand, I guess I'm not a target for such products, since my wrists are kind of thin, and anything bigger than a silver dollar looks inappropriate.

Smartwatch? (1)

6Yankee (597075) | about a year ago | (#43450245)

I hope for their sake that the Scunthorpe problem has been resolved...

Shoes are next! (3, Insightful)

opusman (33143) | about a year ago | (#43450247)

Does anyone get the feeling that if Apple was rumoured to be working on a shoe phone, Microsoft would immediately start doing the same?

Re:Shoes are next! (1)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#43450333)

Not such a stupid idea, at least it can power itself by recovering energy from the walk.

Re:Shoes are next! (2)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43450415)

Does anyone get the feeling that if Apple was rumoured to be working on a shoe phone, Microsoft would immediately start doing the same?

Damnit, now Apple is ripping off CONTROL?

Of Course They Are (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450261)

Doesn't mean it will be any more successful then their tablet, (who should not be named).

Watches are highly vulnerable to damage, which is not someplace you want to put something in the hundred / few hundred / thosand dollar range. Watches also have very little interface area. Google probably could make it useable, Apple maybe after a decade of development, but I doubt MS ever could.

Also, MS, you see Apple? Know how their gamechangers come out of nowhere?
They don't advertise it until they worked out the kinks. They don't fail, and then try and force everyone to buy it, after it's rejected by your customers. Talking about it now has guaranteed it's failure.

Will it be? (1)

thexile (1058552) | about a year ago | (#43450269)

Will it be always online?

Finally (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43450405)

Yeah, finally my portable BSoD on my wrist to show all my friends how blue my watch is. Literally. Hope they add Ctrl-Alt-Del buttons. Oh, and a loupe. In case the obligatory Windows behind it pops up and the a mouse cursor appears.

I just hope they include Norton Antivirus for MS Watch.

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