The Microsoft Band is a small “wearable computing” device worn on a user’s wrist. While its form is more of a band in lines with a fitness band like Fitbits and the Nike Fuelbands, as a wearable computing device it also competes with smartwatches like the Apple Watch.
Also known simply as “Band,” the Microsoft Band offers a raft of features, starting with the ability to view text messages, incoming calls to your smartphone, voicemail notifications, Facebook updates, and new tweets.
The Microsoft Health service is another significant component of the Microsoft Band, and its functionality includes 24-hour heart rate tracking, sleep tracking, a built-in GPS sensor for tracking runs and other workouts, a UV monitor for monitoring sun exposure, a cloud service for storing and analyzing health and fitness data, and an app for smartphones and tablets for viewing Microsoft Health insights.
Microsoft Band Offers Cross Compatibility with Mobile Devices
A somewhat surprising feature of Microsoft Band is that it offers cross-platform support, meaning it will work with Apple iOS and Google Android devices in addition to Windows Phones. However, some features, such as Cortana integration for voice-assisted direction and functionality of the Microsoft Band, will only work on Windows Phone devices.
Whereas the Apple Watch retails for $349 and up, Microsoft has set pricing for the Microsoft Band at $199. Current partners for the Microsoft Band include MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, RunKeeper and UP by Jawbone.
Microsoft Band 2
In October 2015 Microsoft announced a new version of the Band, Microsoft Band 2. Beyond a few new features like a barometer sensor for elevation tracking, the key difference in the new Band is a full-color curved display screen that replaces the flat display and provides the wearable Band with a more attractive, comfortable design.
The new Band does come with at least one drawback, though, compared to the original Band. The Microsoft Band 2 retails for $249, a $50 price jump from the first generation Band.
Microsoft Discontinues the Band Wearable Devices
In October 2016 Microsoft announced it would be discontinuing production of the Microsoft Band wearable computing devices. As a result, the Microsoft Band 3 that was expected to see a debut in late 2016 would not be released.