Casio has announced its Smart Outdoor Watch, the WSD-F20, and the company is known for its hardware. At the same time that Casio is rising in Android Wear, Microsoft has fallen off the wagon with regard to future hardware in this space. We don't know when or if Microsoft will ever make another fitness band or a full-fledged smartwatch, and the announcement that Microsoft had no Band 3 in development some months ago left many Microsoft/Windows Mobile fans wondering whether or not the company would ever make a splash in this space again.
It appears as though Microsoft has taken a software-first approach under CEO Satya Nadella, meaning that the company that once provided its software for only its Windows Phones has decided to "share the wealth" with other platforms (Android and iOS, of course). It is in this approach that Microsoft has entered into an agreement with Casio on April 3rd.
The nature of the agreement pertains to the use of Microsoft's technology patents and Casio implementing Microsoft's tech into its smartwatches to make them more functional than they are currently. Microsoft's Technology Licensing Head Micky Minhas said, "Casio's smartwatches combined with Microsoft's technology will help customers all over the world achieve more from their wearables. This is an outstanding partnership that builds on Microsoft's heritage of innovation in the technology powering personal wearables to boost Casio's best-in-class products in this space."
Casio apparently has intentions to bypass Android Wear in order to bring additional functionality to its smartwatches, which is a positive direction to head in. After all, Android Wear hasn't been as successful as Google has hoped it would be, and, despite the number of sheer players that are entering into this space such as ZTE and Swarovski, among others, no one manufacturer has been able to carry Android Wear to the top on its shoulders.