Update: The Microsoft Band is official. The device will be available from today online and in Microsoft stores, for $199. The band’s 10 sensors will feed health and activity data into Microsoft’s new Health Cloud service. More details about the Microsoft Band here.
Wearable tech. Depending on whom you talk to, it’s either the biggest joke ever, or an invaluable life asset. Differing opinions aside, one thing is crystal clear: it’s here to stay, and with Apple now in the game, it’s about to explode. While some companies have released no less than six devices in the past year, others such as Microsoft have stayed away, but that’s about to change.
The Microsoft Band has been prematurely outed by none other than the big MS itself, along with application information that indicates it will be compatible with Android/Google Play. The device was spotted thanks to a syncing client that was published in the Mac Store, as well as an Android app, now available in the Play Store. The apps don’t give away many details, but it seems the Microsoft Band (Lumia Band?) will have all the conventional functionality of fitness trackers, including step tracking, calorie counter and more. Given that Microsoft already published the accompanying apps, the official announcement of the device could be iminent.
What remains to be seen is how useful/original/relevant this device will be considering its about to enter an increasingly crowded market.
Perhaps the better takeaway message here lies in the story itself: multi-platform support. In addition to Android and (obviously) Windows, the Band will be compatible with Apple’s iOS. This is a dramatic step forward from the more narrow-sighted Gear wearables, where Samsung has deliberately locked them all to only run on Samsung devices, and only recent devices at that. Given that mainstream consumers have yet to buy into the whole fitness and fashion tech push, Microsoft seems to be taking the correct step in appealing to as large an audience as possible. The real question is when others will begin to do so as well, especially with some facing dire situations.