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New images of long dead Xbox Watch prototype leak

A couple of months ago, leaked images of an Xbox-branded smart watch from Microsoft leaked online, showing the company’s early interest in wearables. Today, Twitter user Hikari Calyx posted new pictures of a working prototype, giving us a first glance at the different features that Microsoft was developing for the wearable device (via Windows Central).

Microsoft’s Xbox smart watch apparently featured a couple of fitness-related apps including an app called “Workouts” as well as a heart sensor. Another picture posted by the leaker shows that the watch had a GPS sensor. Overall, the UI seems to have the same Metro design language that Microsoft was pushing at the time on Windows Phone and Windows 8.

Microsoft apparently killed this project years ago, before it was ever close to release. In retrospect, this was probably a good call: while Xbox is a popular brand with consumers, we’re not sure that putting it on a smartwatch makes a lot of sense. Microsoft tried to do it with Zune, its music streaming service which was rebranded to Xbox Music back in 2012, with very little success. Unless Microsoft was working on deep integrations between the watch and Xbox consoles (we doubt it), using the Xbox brand would have probably created unecessary confusion in the minds of consumers.

The Redmond giant did continue to experiment with wearables with the Microsoft Band, but that didn’t go so well either. After releasing a second iteration back in 2015, Microsoft eventually stopped production a year later. Last year, we saw German company Trekstor create a smartwatch running Windows 10 for IoT, but it doesn’t seem that wearables are a big focus for Microsoft these days.

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Do you think Microsoft was right to cancel the Xbox smart watch?