Ahead of the crucial holiday season, Microsoft today officially released its first ever fitness tracking device, called "Microsoft Band". The Redmond-based software giant also unveiled a new health fitness platform to go with the fitness band, called Microsoft Health.
Microsoft will start selling the hybrid fitness tracker through the company's physical and online stores, for $200 or about Rs. 12,220. The fitness-centric wristband will be compatible with all major mobile ecosystems, including iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
The Microsoft Band is primarily a hybrid fitness tracking device. It is designed to be worn by users all day to track exercise and sleeping patterns. The wristband also comes with a built-in GPS and approximately 10 sensors that can track your heart rate. It also measures sun exposure, thanks to a unique UV sensor. In addition to that, the tracking device will also help indentify stress. What's unique about the Microsoft Band is that it will support the company's Cortana voice assistant.
Alongside the launch of the fitness tracking device, the Xbox One maker released a fitness-tracking service called Microsoft Health. Basically, the system will analyze your fitness data from the Band. Notably, the Microsoft Health will be compatible non-Windows devices and rival health-centric bands.
Microsoft says it has partnered with several key players in the industry, including Starbucks, which will let Band owners pay for coffee with only a "gift card barcode. It will also work with MyMapFitness and RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Jawbone, among others.
Will you buy Microsoft's Band?
The Microsoft Band, a newly launched fitness band, looks similar to Samsung's Gear Fit in terms of design, at least. However, there are two core differences between the two rival fitness trackers. First and foremost, the Microsoft Band will last up to 48 hours on a single charge and to be worn all day to track both sleep and exercise. Secondly, the Microsoft-made Band is compatible with leading mobile OS, which includes Windows Phone, Android and, of course, iOS.
So far, the Microsoft Band appears to be a far better choice compared to rival health-centric fitness tracking devices, for instance, the Gear Fit.
In the meanwhile, we take a closer look at top 5 highlighted features of Microsoft Band.
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As it was rumored, the Microsoft Band looks identical to the Samsung Gear Fit (minus curved display). The Band is water and dust resistant.
The Microsoft Band has a 1.4-inch 320x106 display and a pair of 100mAh batteries that Microsoft says will provide up to 48 hours of "normal use.
Microsoft has also revealed the full list of sensors that are packed inside the Band: optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, pyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response and microphone.
Miicrosoft is also offering Health apps that are now available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone. These apps gather data from the Band and display them in the Microsoft Health cloud service. The device is compatible with Windows Phone 8.1, iOS 7.1 and up and Android 4.3 and 4.4 phones.
In addition to that, it will provide some of the smartwatch-like capabilities such as notifications as well as access to Cortana if you have a Windows Phone 8.1 running phone.