Microsoft Jumps On Android And iOS To Boost Its Wearable Strategy – Forbes

Microsoft’s strategy to gather users to its cloud based services continued to grow this week as it improved its offering in the wearable space.

Microsoft Band (image: Ewan Spence)

Microsoft Band (image: Ewan Spence)

The latest update to Microsoft Outlook on iOS increases the functionality and flexibility of the email application’s Apple Watch interface. Users of Cupertino’s digital timepiece will find it easier to see their emails on their wrist, and can reply to messages by tapping on the notification icon. This opens a dedicated Outlook app for Apple Watch and allows you to use a pre-formatted reply or dictate a new message.

The all-new Outlook for Apple Watch is an extension of the Outlook you know and love—helping you keep up to speed with your emails, your calendar and your life. You’ll never miss what’s important with Focused Inbox Watch notifications. And browse and read full emails right from your wrist—even take action immediately by archiving, deleting, flagging or scheduling them to appear later. We’ve also added Quick Replies, with pre-written responses and voice dictation for a more personal touch. Finally, you can see unread emails and your next calendar appointment on the Glance screen.

Microsoft has spent time ensuring that its products are supported on Apple Watch, with PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype all featuring in the first wave of apps for the wearable. These have been joined in recent weeks with apps for Outlook (as noted above), Yammer, Sunrise, and Wunderlist.

Android Wear users should not feel left out as Microsoft has been working to provide applications for Google’s wearable OS, including OneDrive watch faces, dictating notes through OneNote, and Microsoft Translator all showing up for your wrist.

Microsoft also has its owns wearable in the Microsoft Band, and while the UI feels very much like the tiled interface of Windows 10′s start menu and the Windows Phone client that drives it, the companion software is also available on Android and iOS.

The common factor in all of these applications is, as you would expect in 2015, the cloud. They all require a consumer to be using a Microsoft account and making use of Microsoft’s cloud services, from health data stored and shared via the cloud to OneNote database files residing in OneDrive’s storage so as to be accessible from any device.

It’s not about the hardware – if it was Microsoft would have pulled up the drawbridge and insist that the Microsoft Band was the only way to access Redmond’s wearable vision. Instead it is about connected devices working together with Microsoft’s cloud, working alongside other cloud services on the handset. Once more this is ‘cloud first mobile first’, but with a twist.

It is a ‘cloud first, wearable first’ future.

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