We knew Microsoft is working on it’s own wearable devices and today the Redmont based giant took the lids off its first fitness tracker, Microsoft Band complete with 10 sensors and built-in GPS and is OS agnostic.
If you are using Windows Phone, you might have missed out the wearables action so far but Microsoft band, the fitness tracker is available beginning today in US markets at $199 and most importantly it can also sync with Android and iOS devices and it can work with Mac as well.
Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Devices and Services, states the band is essentially to “have people live healthier, and be more productive, by having a band that can serve on the opposite side of your watch, worn 24 hours a day, and get some of the most accurate data that you can possibly get,”
The Microsoft Band includes 10 sensors that measures user’s heart rate, sun exposure, and stress level among other things. The company promises 48 hours of battery life on a single charge. The device also displays notifications from your smartphone. The notifications include emails, call and text alerts, as well as access to Facebook, Twitter alongside weather and stock information. It can also pay for your starbucks coffee too. The Band stores your Starbucks card details so you can scan your wrist to pay without reaching for your wallet.
The highlight of the Microsoft offering is the cross-platform compatibility and the ‘openness’. While most wearables in market are platform tied or even device exclusive, the Microsoft Band can work seamlessly with devices of Android, iOS and WP but if you own a Windows 8.1 running Windows Phone, you get the exclusivity of using the Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana to give voice commands allowing you to talk to the band, dictate notes or set reminders.
To build a robust ecosystem around the platform, the company is licensing the ten-sensors it has developed so that others can use them to make better products as well. Already Microsoft has partnered with developers like RunKeeper, MapMyFitness as well as hardware partners like Jawbone and Starbucks for possible integrations, and many might follow suit because of its open nature.
Alongside Microsoft Band, the company also introduced Microsoft Health app for Windows, its own fitness hub not to be confused with Apple HealthKit, Samsung S-Health and Google Fit but in similar in usage if nor more. The Cloud-based service fetches information from the Microsoft Band, as well as other fitness bands and rival smartphones. Microsoft says that this feature will grow to understand your habits.