Microsoft announced their Smart Watch…10 years ago!

Smart Watch or effectively wearable minicomputer is believed to be the next big gadget after Smart Phones. It is estimated that more than 2 million Smart Watches were sold in 2013 with Galaxy Gear Smart Watches from Samsung dominating the market. Other players like Pebble and Sony are also present in this market occupying a smaller share as compared to Samsung. But, have you heard of Microsoft’s presence in Smart Watch market? If not, you may be  surprised to know that Microsoft announced their version of the Smart Watch in 2004… almost, 10 years ago.

Smart Watch

The Smart Watch from Microsoft was named as Microsoft SPOT Watch and was released in the year 2004 with much enthusiasm. However the demise of this cool gadget happened sooner than anybody would have expected and it was officially killed in the year 2008. Interestingly the SPOT (Smart Personal Object Technology) Watch was part of the SPOT technology, an initiative from Microsoft to personalize household electronics and other everyday gadgets.

The SPOT Watches generated much buzz when they were launched, however, soon the interest among tech crazy community dropped drastically owing to several reasons. The main drawbacks were as follows:

  • Price  – At the time of its launch, SPOT Watch models were valued upto $300, a price that many thought was too to pay considering it was not offering anything different compared to the first generation Smartphones.
  • Too bulky to carry and offered poor fit compared to conventional watches.
  • Frequent charging requirement  – Contrary to what was marketed that the SPOT Watch could operate for three days on a full charge, instead, its battery life was highly dependent on the usage it was put through. Hence it became very inconvenient for users to charge it consistently.
  • Use of a proprietary network by Microsoft : The SPOT Watch needed a data network to operate with its full functionality and Microsoft decided to build a proprietary network using FM radio signal instead of opting for standardized wireless communications protocols. This meant that the watch could not operate with full features as there were gaps in coverage, especially in places where Microsoft was unable to secure bandwidth, the SPOT Watch was simply a very bulky and expensive watch that had limited functionality.

Today, taking a cue from Microsoft’s mistakes many companies have entered the Smart Watch market successfully. They have adopted modern display technologies, comfortable and sleek designs, better battery life and easy communication interface with other devices like PC’s and Smartphones. These technological developments have led to the belief that Smart Watch technology has much in store in the future.

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Ankit Gupta is a writer by profession and has more than 7 years of global writing experience on technology and other areas. He follows technological developments and likes to write about Windows & IT security. He has a deep liking for wild life and has written a book on Top Tiger Parks of India.