Microsoft building its own smartwatch tapping Xbox Kinect tech

Microsoft is developing a smartwatch that boasts sensors for monitoring and tracking a wearer's heart rate that will be operable with iPhone, Windows Phones and Android devices, according to a recent Forbes report.

For the offering, Microsoft will tap internal gurus involved in its Xbox Kinect technology; the smartwatch reportedly will provide round-the-clock heart-rate monitoring with a battery that lasts up to two days.

The announcement comes as both Apple and Samsung are readying similar products of their own. The latter has announced that it is building a new mHealth platform called SAMI, described as an open biometric system that will be used to collect and correlate data from its wearable devices including Gear, Fitbit and Jawbone.

Microsoft's entry also follows BlackBerry's announcement in late April that it, too, will expand into the healthcare market.

The news illustrates the allure of mHealth technology to vendors and consumers, as well as payers and providers striving for cheaper yet useful device and services approaches to healthcare. Both Samsung and Apple have already moved into the mHealth device segment, as have new start-ups.

The device will work very much like Samsung's Gear Fit, according to Forbes, with a color touch screen designed to be worn on the inside of a person's wrist, providing greater data privacy.

While more devices coming to market is a good thing for consumers, two recent studies warn that early mHealth devices, apps and online videos may not be completely accurate or trustworthy.

Meanwhile, a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission noted that data gleaned from smartwatches and other mHealth devices is being shared by third-party vendors, a practice that likely most consumers are not aware of or likely embrace.

For more information:
- read the Forbes article