Microsoft unveils $199 iOS-compatible fitness band, health app

“Microsoft Corp unveiled an activity-tracking wristband and related Internet-based service that can track and analyze health, fitness and sleep data, jumping into the crowded wearable-computer market,” Dina Bass reports for Bloomberg. “The $199 Microsoft Band, on sale today, works with the company’s free Health application, which uses machine learning to interpret data and can run on its Windows system, Apple Inc.’s iOS mobile software and Google Inc.’s Android, said Yusuf Mehdi, vice president of devices and studios. Starting in January, the app will work with other devices, including Apple and Android phones and smartwatches.”

“Microsoft is entering the burgeoning market for connected wearable devices — now dominated by smaller companies like Fitbit Inc. — at the same time as Apple prepares to debut its own smartwatch,” Bass reports. “The band and app will track statistics such as how much deep sleep a user gets, whether calories burned are from fat or carbohydrates, and suggested recovery time from a particular type of exercise. It can tell a person if caffeine helps a workout or whether alcohol affects his or her sleep. It comes pre-loaded with workouts from Gold’s Gym, as well as programs from Shape and Men’s Fitness magazines, and works with apps from RunKeeper, MapMyFitness and Jawbone.”

Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health
Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health

“The device includes Microsoft’s Cortana voice-controlled personal assistant, as well as e-mail, weather, stock prices and access to Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc.,” Bass reports. “Microsoft plans to initially make the band available in limited quantities online and at its own stores in the U.S. because the company is planning to gauge demand and adjust the product according to feedback, Mehdi said.”

Read more in the full article here.

“The Microsoft Band is far superior to any other fitness band on the market,” Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes for ZDNet. “It has a built-in GPS tracker to better monitor your movements. It features a UV sensor so the wearer can keep track of their exposure to sunlight. It also features a skin temperature monitor and a heart rate sensor that uses an optical sensor rather than the less accurate audio sensors fitted to many bands.”

“And then there’s the fact that the Microsoft Band is much more than just a fitness band,” Kingsley-Hughes writes. “It brings a whole raft of features that you’d expect from a smartwatch and builds them right into the band. Features such as Twitter and Facebook integration, calendar, weather, and stock tracking.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Battery life is claimed at 48 hours with the very important addendum: “Functionality like GPS will impact battery performance.” Yes, GPS will negatively impact battery performance immensely. Roughly, users will get a couple hours total out of it with GPS on, if users will even get that much. Which is why Apple did not include GPS in Apple Watch.

People think focus means saying “yes” to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying “no” to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying “no” to 1,000 things. – Steve Jobs

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  1. MDN I think you are wrong. Over at the Verge I read that the band uses GPS data from the wearers Phone GPS. Like Apple Watch there is no GPS built in. There is a long piece at the Verge.

    1. Yep. Makes sense. Microsoft actually makes pretty good peripheral devices. Excellent keyboards. Good hardware company. It’s a shame they can’t go to the next level. I’d much rather Apple duke it out with MS than Samsung, personally.

      1. For the longest time MS made the best mice and Keyboards, then Logitech started their run on top.
        I still have 2 of the Natural keyboards, some hate it but i think it was great.
        I was never a great speed typist, but after using one of them.. my typing speed increased by a large margin. Now I love the bluetooth keyboard Apple makes and can’t stand typing on a “normal” keyboard.
        Just feels like I have type on one of those old typewriters with the long keystrokes to make the key register. And those “clicky” keyboards people use for gaming… drive me nuts. I want to smash every one I see.

        Whoever made/designed them for MS way back when.. maybe MS needs to start working with them again.

      2. Some of us have long memories no fanboys are worse than the Microsoft ones and no company longer fingers around the necks of industry. Seeing them as they are is fine by me and have no wish to go back to those technological stone age of days, de ent mice or otherwise.

        1. Had the launch day Xbox and Xbox 360’s, not once have I had a problem with the hardware.

          I did read an article one of the game mags put out, the failure rate of the xbox/xbox 360 was less than 1% higher than the PS3 was, and actually lower than the PS2 and PS1… But guess who got all the negative press, and who was protected from criticism?

    2. Actually they are correct – Microsofts own site says it has built in GPS so you can run without your phone

      Alos as far as the display orientation you wear the screen on the inside of your wrist which reads perfectly – I think it is a pretty nice device and I love that the reviewer used it with an iPhone.

  2. From a competition standpoint, the more the merrier. I will be very skeptical about it until I read a long term test report, since MS products always seem to underwhelm after the initial hype.

  3. I am looking for something that tracks while swimming, sleeping, water proof is a must. It should tell me my heart rate, and have a fitness formula. My wife would like something that tracks blood sugar. So I am seeing things that are close but not spot on. Nothing is out there for blood sugar, and I think it should be a top priority.

    These are good devices but you don’t want to cut yourself short.

    If you don’t want jewelry, but a functional black (calculator watch) type device, to do these things, I don’t know what to say. $199 certainly is on the top end for that. But I am thinking this MS device may not be enough.

    Apple Watch is better looking, but I would never want to take it to the pool. Any suggestions?

    1. Clearly those few random brain cells you have thought it would be a good to string that sentence of yours together. Try doing something else and save what sanity you have.

  4. I will only buy it if it can predict when I may have to go poop. Sometimes I’m in a meeting and suddenly I really have to poop. I think if MS puts in a “I Have To Poop” level indicator, they will sell a Sh*t Load of this POS. 😜

  5. I would also ask MDN what Apple’s strategy with the Apple Watch is saying “no” to. It has two methods of input (3 if you count voice) and apps smattered all over the main screen. Do people want to look at their camera roll from their watch? I’d say that’s almost as bad as the whipping boy du jour, the on-screen smartwatch keyboard.

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