“Moonraker”: The Nokia smartwatch that Microsoft killed

Moonraker

It is always difficult when two large companies merge. And, for Microsoft and Nokia, there was no exception.

When Redmond finalized its acquisition of the Services and Devices Division of Nokia earlier in 2014, it was a given that sacrifices would be made. Since that point, many of these have come to light, just hinting at what might have been, had events not taken a turn for the worse in the Windows Phone sphere.

Now, another has emerged, a project that once was and is now no more. That is the smartwatch that Nokia had supposedly intended to release alongside the Lumia 930, code-named “Moonraker”. Thanks to the sleuthing of Evan Blass, otherwise known as Mr ‘evleaks’, and as reported by the Verge, images were found on a Tumblr blog belonging to Microsoft design employee Pei-Chi Hsieh. And these images are far from concept renders, instead appearing to be for marketing, indicating what state the project might have been in when it was scrapped.

It appears that, for the moment, the narrative is that Microsoft scrapped the watch following the acquisition due to the fact that it would be competing with the firm’s own ‘Microsoft Band’, which was released last year. With more functionality in-built, it was judged to be the superior product.

Moonraker

Looking now with hindsight however, what the two products reveal are a fundamental difference in focus. Where the Microsoft Band resembles a bracelet worn by repeat-offenders, the Nokia ‘Moonraker’ has more in-common with other smartwatches, especially those produced by Sony. Where the band emphasizes features over looks, the Nokia effort promised to marry the Windows Phone interface with a smartwatch experience, with remote camera controls and MixRadio integration in-built.

As the battle continues over what a smartwatch should be, the ‘Moonraker’ will remain but an interesting footnote, nothing more. Whether Microsoft will bring some elements of this device to its expected ‘Microsoft Band 2’ is something that only time will tell.

Would you have bought a Nokia ‘Moonraker’? Let us know in the comments below.

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