Google's got Android Wear, and Apple's likely to have an iWatch before the year is out. Microsoft's answer? Not another smartphone masquerading as a timepiece, but a fitness band, complete with notifications and health-tracking sensors.
Noted Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott's sources at the Redmond company say that it has a Samsung Gear Fit-like device set to release this Autumn, capable of monitoring steps taken, calories burned and a wearer's heart rate. It'll receive notifications like the current wave of Android smartwatches, but won't have a watch-like face.
However, Microsoft's smartest move may turn out to be the rumoured decision to make the band platform-agnostic. Whereas Android Wear devices will be tethered to Android phones, and any iWatch will almost certainly be tied to iOS devices, Thurrott's sources claim the Microsoft wristband will work with both Apple and Google's operating systems, as well as the Windows platform. How well such a device would work when having to factor in the differences between each platform remains to be seen, but with pricing rumoured to sit at the same point as the Samsung Gear Fit's (around £170), at least they'll be pitching to the widest possible audience. [Winsupersite]