MICROSOFT LOOKS SET to rejoin the wearables race after abandoning its Band 2 device last year, and with plans for its successor never materialising beyond some leaked drawings.
This is slightly different, though. The TrekStor-designed watch, which so far goes by no name, is aimed squarely at B2B customers and will run Windows 10 Core.
The device is capable of running complete Universal Apps directly from the wrist, with a direct connection to the cloud. It's basically like having a first generation Surface on your arm.
Measuring 1.54in, the watch has WiFi and Bluetooth, "plenty of storage space and has the processing power and battery life to perform its line-of-business functions"
Use cases include retail inventory management, guest service automation, manufacturing, patient care, asset management and fleet management.
Although specs are scant at this stage, it uses Azure Cloud and Microsoft Cognitive Services, so it does appear to be quite hardcore, and this is reflected in the choice of Gorilla Glass 3 for the screen.
The announcement explains: "The TrekStor IoT Wearable allows various functions to be reported to the right place without any communicative detours, and messages can be transmitted silently in real-time or verbally via voice messages."
There remains a significant ambivalence about wearables which were at one point seen as the "next big thing". Google's Android Wear 2.0 is rolling out slowly, but other contenders like Pebble have fallen by the wayside - you can now buy a Pebble for around £40.
It appears however that Microsoft and TrekStor think they have found a niche market that could make a return more enticing, and of course lucrative.
Commercial uses for wearables have been among the biggest success stories, with companies like Virgin Atlantic using the ill-fated Google Glass to improve eye contact when talking to first and business class ticket holders, by showing their details in a heads up display controlled by a smart watch, rather than looking down to a terminal.
It's safe to say that the Judge Dredd helmet that is Hololens is unlikely to warm customers arriving at check-in in quite the same way. µ
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