Microsoft shares wearable patents with Olio Devices

The luxury smartwatch maker is looking to a tech giant for its next steps
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Microsoft has announced, in a mysterious statement, that it is licensing wearable tech patents to boutique smartwatch maker Olio Devices.

Microsoft doesn't have a smartwatch of its own, partly because it appears to have cancelled Nokia's Moonraker concept in favour of the Microsoft Band back when it acquired Nokia's mobile arm in 2014.

So this new deal is interesting because it signals that Microsoft is looking to collaborate with smaller companies in order to advance the wearable tech industry. We don't know what patents the deal covers, only that it covers wearable devices.

Read this: Olio CEO- How Apple and Google get wearables wrong

"Mutually beneficial and collaborative patent licensing agreements like this one promote innovation and lead to better products and experiences for consumers," said Nick Psyhogeos, president of Microsoft Technology Licensing; a standard line that doesn't really tell us anything.

As for Olio Devices itself, the San Francisco based startup has launched a number of collections for its first smartwatch, the Model One - Steel, Black, Gold and Rose - with the most affordable model priced at $595.

We haven't tested the iPhone/Android compatible Model One yet but early indications from Wareable readers suggest that it hasn't quite brought its luxury materials, bespoke watch faces and cloud based assistance together in a reliable product yet. Still, we'll reserve judgement until we have tested the smartwatch ourselves.

Olio Devices CEO Steven Jacobs talked up its virtual assistant earlier this year, saying it could be potentially more useful than Google Now, so we'd be particularly interested if the patents being licensed were being used to enhance Olio Assist.

Microsoft shares wearable patents with Olio Devices

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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