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Microsoft Band: Cloud-powered Fitness Tracker

3 November, 2014 | Article Source: Meghana Vijaykumar  |   (No Comments) | 20,904 Views

Microsoft Band: Cloud-powered Fitness Tracker

Microsoft Band: Cloud-powered Fitness Tracker

Microsoft has stepped into the fitness tracking game with the Microsoft Band, a multipurpose wearable device that tracks steps and sleep quality (standard fitness wearable fare), as well as it’s own GPS, heart rate sensor, and works as a notifications platform. All this in a cross-platform (iOS, Android, Windows) device that is available now!

The Looks

In many ways it is reminiscent of the Samsung Gear Fit, both in shape and function. It is a psuedo-smartwatch, putting fitness first, but with many of the capabilities we want in a smartwatch lurking beneath the surface. It also looks similar to the Gear Fit, sporting a long thin display, though without the neat curve of the Gear. Both watches suffer somewhat from the awkwardness of viewing a horizontal display on the wrist. Other than that, the design of the Microsoft Band is satisfactory, but not stunning. It certainly looks most at home on your wrist while biking, jogging, and other kinds of fitness activities.

Where the device shines is in functionality. This little watch can do all kinds of things—all the things you’d expect from a competitive tracking device (accelerometer, heart rate, watch) plus a few new ones, like the UV sensor, and a built-in GPS so you won’t need to tether to a smartphone to get directions.

Among other high notes for the Microsoft Band is the 48 hour battery life, which is reasonable compared to some smartwatch options.

Microsoft’s Ecosystem

All of these features tie in to Microsoft’s app, Microsoft Health, which is cross-platform. It’s a bit weird that Microsoft keeps releasing all this cross-platform stuff (consider Microsoft Office for Mobile), considering that they have a platform of their own they are trying to promote. But no complaints here!

Microsoft’s software side can offer recommendations based on health goals, check progress over time, and other usual health & fitness app functions. On Windows Phone, you can also use Cortana to perform certain actions—and though this is a first party app, this still serves as a good reminder of Cortana’s stand-out feature: third-party integration. Plus, you’ll be able to speak the commands into your watch, rather than your phone, which is noticeably more convenient.

The band also features close cloud integration, automatically storing data remotely. Microsoft has an API in the works for playing with this data, which is where all the real fun will begin, and third-party apps can start doing interesting things for consumers.

The Obvious Comparison

Overall, the Microsoft Watch seems to be jumping in ahead of the Apple Watch which has been announced but will not see release until some time next year. The two different devices can’t be viewed separately, thanks to the long-standing rivalry between Apple and Microsoft. We’ll have to wait for the Apple Watch to release to make any real comparisons though.

This is just one more in a long line of wearables, and just as it’s predecessors have done, the Microsoft Band raises the bar. I’m eagerly following the growth of the wearable market, and I know there will be a lot of opportunities that arise from products like the Microsoft Band. Give Software Developers Inc a call today at 408.802.2885 or email team@sdi.la to get in touch with our mobile experts and find out more about development for wearable tech.

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