Microsoft today unveiled their first wearable device, the cross platform Microsoft Band. Designed as primarily a fitness device and priced aggressively at $199, the Band will also be a productivity device that allows users to interact with notifications synced from the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth LE.
Using its long history in with health technology initiatives (for example Microsoft Health Vault (a web based platform started in 2007 that securely stores health and fitness data), Microsoft started working on the Band in 2010. Under the top secret code of Project K, engineers from the Xbox division, Microsoft Research and the Health Vault Team. The goal of the project was to give users the best way to track their health metrics, and then use this data to help the users improve their health. Early on, the decision was made that the device had to work on all platforms, be easy to use and add value.
A wristband was chosen as the best form factor as it can be work throughout the day. As one of the requirements was to have continuous heart monitoring, the band had used advanced technology developed by the Microsoft Research team. Recognizing that we don’t spend all out time in the Gym, the Microsoft Band design team utilized the device connectivity to allow users to respond to notifications.
A new cloud platform called Microsoft Health was designed to be open and work across all platforms. Using machine learning, Microsoft health organizes and learns from the fitness data it collects to recommend a unique tailored training plan. Microsoft Health will also have a SDK that allows Developers to write apps that utilize the device sensor.
The Band will be available today in the US Microsoft Stores and online. Priced at $199, the Microsoft Band will compete against the Galaxy Gear Fit, the recently announced Fitbit Surge, and the Apple Watch. Microsoft has not announced when the Band will be available in countries other than the United States.
Band material Thermal plastic elastomer with adjustable fit clasp
Display Size 11mm x 33mm
Display Type Capacitive 1.4″ TFT full color display
Display Resolution 320 x 106 pixels
Battery life 48 hours of normal use (advanced functionality like GPS use will impact battery performance)
Average charge time Full charge in less than 1.5 hours
Battery type Dual 100mAh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries
Sensors Optical heart rate sensor, 3-axis accelerometer/gyro, Gyrometer GPS, Ambient light sensor, Skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, Capacitive sensor, Galvanic skin response, Microphone
Additional technology Haptic vibration motor
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.0 (Low Energy)
Supported mobile devices Windows Phone 8.1, iOS 7.1 and later iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus , Android 4.3-4.4 phones, with Bluetooth.
Charge cable connector Magnetically-coupled connector to USB
Operating temperature ranges -10°C to 40°C (14°F to 104°F)
Maximum operating altitude Approximately 12,000m
Water resistance Dust- and splash-resistant
Warranty 1year limited warranty for manufacturing defects
Download the Microsoft Health Apps here: