Microsoft enters wearables race with fitness ‘Band’

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Fitness tracker Band powered by Microsoft Health software and went on sale in US today for $199

Microsoft has entered the wearables market with the launch of it’s new fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band, and app Microsoft Health.

The Band comes with 10 integrated sensors that track sleep patterns, heart rate, calories, stress and even sun exposure and the device can run for two days on a single charge.

The fitness tracker is available in the US from today (October 30) for $199 (£125) at Microsoft’s online and physical stores.  Microsoft has yet to reveal if or when it will be released internationally.

September figures from Analyst firm Canalys predicted shipments of wearable bands will surpass 43.2 million in 2015, with Apple, Samsung and several other major manufacturers having already launched fitness bands and smart watches.

Microsoft said the Band will work with all major phone operating systems and can also connect to social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as Microsoft’s new Health software.

Health

Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that uses data from fitness trackers to produce actionable insights in to ways to improve fitness.

The software is based on Microsofts Health Vault, which it launched in 2007, and will also work with non-Microsoft fitness trackers, smart watches and mobile phone services such as MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper. Health_Chart_10_29

Insights that will be offered by the Health App at launch include which exercises burned the most calories during a workout, how long you’re recommended to take to recover post-exercise and sleep patterns.

The platform will also be developed over time to allow integration with Microsoft Office Calendar and email functions, giving users the option to integrate exercise information into a schedule automatically.

CCS Insight Analyst Ben Wood said: “As expected Microsoft has given into the irresistible allure of having a health tracking wearable and associated cloud-based health platform. This puts it in direct competition with Apple’s iHealth and Google Fit as well as the plethora of proprietary health platforms from companies such as FitBit, Jawbone and Withings.

“It’s interesting that Microsoft is clearly positioning its product as a fitness band rather than a smart watch given it has many of the features several smart watches already support. It is banking on the fact that consumers don’t want to replace their watches and that this will be what it calls the ‘band for the other hand’”.

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