Nokia Moonraker: The Better Microsoft Band?

Nokia Moonraker

Nokia Moonraker

Thanks to a newly discovered video, we know what a smartwatch from now-defunct smartphone manufacturer Nokia would have looked like. Given how Nokia became a Microsoft subsidiary, it’s not out of the question that this device could have been Microsoft’s primary smartwatch. (Instead, Microsoft launched the Band, a chunky bracelet that quickly went off the market.)

As you can see in the video below (which confirms that the images that surfaced a few years ago were accurate portrayals), the Nokia ‘Moonraker’ Lumia smartwatch represented an early, blunt stab at wearables. Because we can now compare this effort to the Apple Watch and Android Wear, there’s nothing particularly sensational about the overall design. (We’re not entirely sure when Moonraker was developed, though it seems to have been just ahead of Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition.)

The software is also pretty standard. The display is fairly nice (even though the model’s strange hand-petting makes us anxious), and Nokia stuck with the formula of surfacing social, messaging and health functionality over everything else.

The interface relies on swipe gestures, with an app switcher included, as well. The screen even lets you long-press to dig a bit deeper into apps and menus. All told, in a slightly different universe, this might have been the Windows smartwatch so many were hoping the Band would be.

Unfortunately, we’ll never really know. Microsoft cancelled the Band 3 in September, and pulled existing wearables from its stores. We can safely assume the company is all-in on desktops and laptops with the Surface lineup, with even Windows Phone an afterthought. There’s very little room at the moment for Microsoft in mobile, which is perhaps part of the reason why it’s focusing its energy on Azure and professional applications.

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