With rumor after rumor, Microsoft’s smartwatch, err, fitness band has been announced.
In a Skype conference closed to executives and certain members of the press Wednesday, Yusuf Mehdi, corporate Vice President of Devices and Services, announced the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health. According to The Verge, Health is a new multiplatform system that will analyze and compile all of the world’s health data.
The band will track your steps, strides, and heart rate, while presenting information most relevant to you, such as text messages and tweets. It will reportedly retail for $199.
The cool thing about Microsoft Health is its open source nature. Microsoft really wants all fitness data to come together. Right now the market is flooded with bands, all offering their own separate ecosystem, and it’s hard for consumers to keep track. Health will let developers create their own apps and products, but still have it connect to the same Microsoft Health service. That means your MyFitnessPal app will be able to communicate with the Microsoft Band and keep your data stored.
Not only that, Microsoft Health will also work with your Android Wear watch, your Android Phone, or your iPhone 6’s motion processor. It’s a bold, but necessary, move for Microsoft to try and make strides in an ever-competitive mobile environment. Ubiquity seems to be the name of the game.
Microsoft is claiming that the tech found in its Smart Band is unlike anything else on the market. Since the band syncs with your phone, it constantly has a track of your GPS coordinates. Based on how fast you’re moving, it can measure your strides. Couple that with constant heart rate monitoring, that’s a lot of very useful data.
Unlike a smartwatch, Microsoft doesn’t want its Smart Band buzzing every five seconds. The hope is to make you more productive and health conscious, without flooding users with data. Mehdi wants to “make the tech disappear.”
So really, the Microsoft Band is more a complementary device. Not something competing with wristwatches or smartwatches, but rather, being paired with them.
The Smart Band will also come in three different sizes: small, medium, and large. People with smaller wrists have always had problems with heart rate-tracking watches. The sensor wouldn’t stay nestled, giving improper readouts. Having different sizes definitely fixes that problem.
If this is Satya Nadella’s vision of the new Microsoft, color us very intrigued. And of course, you can buy the new Microsoft Smart Band effective Oct. 30th, at the Microsoft Store.