Well, you can add another entry to the long list of companies hoping to nab a piece of the wearable pie. Today, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health app, a hardware and software initiative that form the core of the company’s new fitness platform.
The Microsoft Band, which costs $199 and debuts in Microsoft Stores today, looks somewhat similar to a Gear Fit. A fitness wearable through-and-through, its functionally limited to mostly vitals and stats – it tracks miles, steps, hours of sleep, calories, and heart rate, and syncs that data with your smartphone. It is not unique in that regard, but Microsoft says it does so with an unprecedented level of accuracy thanks to a 10-sensor module, which includes a GPS, optical heart rate monitor, UV light monitor, and more.
Microsoft worked with gyms and fitness magazines to develop workouts, which the band can monitor by telling you when to switch routines and counting reps.
If paired with a Windows Phone, the Band becomes slightly more capable. It can access Cortana, Microsoft’s intelligent voice assistant, and display texts, emails, Twitter alerts, and even Starbucks barcodes on its elongated screen.
The eponymous Microsoft Health is Microsoft’s attempt at a one-stop, cross-platform vault for all of your wellness data. It is available in the form of an app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and will eventually integrate with all of the most popular fitness apps and devices – it supports Android Wear watches at launch, and Microsoft has been working with Jawbone, MapMyFitness, My Fitness Pal, and Runkeeper. The app’s defining feature is the Intelligence Engine, which uses cloud processing to analyze your data and provide insights; Microsoft says that will include bits like “whether eating breakfast helps you run faster,” and “if the number of meetings during the day impacts sleep quality.”
The Microsoft Band is available “in limited quantities” starting today, online at MicrosoftStore.com and in brick-and-mortar Microsoft Stores. Microsoft Health is a free download on Google Play.