Way back in 2013, pre-Apple Watch, there was talk of a Microsoft smartwatch that could monitor heart rate and deliver two days of battery life. It never turned up, but we did get the Microsoft Band instead, a fitness-focused wearable that has since been canned by the Redmond company.
It seems though that while that smartwatch never saw the light of day, it was clearly in the works based on images that have surfaced showing off a prototype of an Xbox-branded timepiece.
What the images suggest is that Microsoft felt that a rectangular design was the way forward and it appears to also confirm that some form of optical sensor would have been included as well. Microsoft was rumoured to be requesting 1.5-inch displays from supply chains and this may well have been the reason why. There's also evidence that it would have used the same magnetic power connector found on Microsoft's Surface tablets.
Quite what the Xbox branding meant as far as integration with the games console, is anyone's guess. When those initial rumours began swirling a few years ago, it was reported that the teams behind Xbox accessories and building its Kinect motion sensor were working on the device. So maybe that heart rate sensor could have been some form of fitness gaming experience tie-up.
Microsoft did of course launch the SPOT smartwatch way back in 2004, but it was clearly ahead of its time and flopped. While the company spends more time these days talking up its VR and AR ambitions, speculation that it could one day venture back into the world of smartwatches still lingers. For now though, it looks like the focus remains on building wearables that lie away from the wrist.