Microsoft enters the wearable market with a health/fitness tracking band
Microsoft Band costs $199 and works with Windows Phone, Android, and iOS
Microsoft launched its first wearable product called Microsoft Band. The fitness and health tracking gadget has 10 sensors for measuring different activities and health conditions – heart rate, steps, GPS, movements, UX exposure, level of stress, and more. It looks like a nice combination between a smartwatch and a fitness band for active people with a battery that lasts 2 days.
Thanks to a new platform called Microsoft Health, users can gather all fitness related data from different health and fitness services and trackers in a secure cloud based location. The service will add support for HealthVault very soon.
Back to the main product. The new smart band is a cross platform device so it syncs with the three popular platforms – Windows Phone, Android and iOS. You can use the build-in GPS tracking and then sync the data using a companion app – Microsoft Health. The app also lets you personalize the look, receive notifications and statuses on your wrist, or even use voice to interact with Cortana personal assistant on Windows Phone 8.1.
How to use Cortana on Microsoft Band
Open Health app and tap on Band – Manage Tiles. Turn Cortana on.
Press the action button on the Band for 2 seconds and then speak into the mic. Cortana replies by displaying the results (if possible) on the Microsoft Band. What you can do? Ask questions, add notes and reminders, perform tasks (phone calls, texts), set alarms, and more. You can also let Cortana notify you about news and sports events.
Another cool features of Microsoft Band is the ability to pay for orders at Starbucks. Open the companion app, go to Manage Tiles, tap on the Starbucks slider, add the 16 digit code of your card, and tap on ‘Save’ to sync the settings with the gadget.
Microsoft Band is available for $199 in three sizes (S, M, L) at online and physical Microsoft Stores in the US. There is no word when the new product will hit other countries.
- Thermal plastic elastomer with adjustable fit clasp
- Capacitive 1.4″ TFT full color display with 320 x 106 pixels resolution
- Sensors: Optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer, Gyrometer, Ambient light sensor, Skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, Capacitive sensor, Galvanic skin response.
- Haptic vibration motor
- Bluetooth 4.0 LE
- Works with Windows Phone 8.1 update with Bluetooth, iOS 7.1 and later: iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus and Android 4.3-4.4 phones, with Bluetooth.
- 48 hours of normal use; advanced functionality like GPS use will impact battery performance – Full charge in less than 1.5 hours.
- Dual 100mAh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries
- 1 year limited warranty for manufacturing defects
Microsoft Health app can be downloaded from here.