At their unveiling event yesterday, Microsoft (News - Alert) revealed their latest foray into wearable technology: a revamp of last year’s product, the Microsoft Band.
Just like last year’s iteration, the newest Band is meant primarily as an athletic performance tracker with more capability than other members of its class like the FitBit. It has all the usual bells and whistles: a step counter, a GPS (that functions independent of its paired smartphone, meaning that, unlike some other fitness trackers, it can track a run even if the runner does not have their phone on them), a heart rate monitor and a sleep tracker.
It also has new, higher level fitness tracking capabilities, like a maximal oxygen consumption monitor and a golf swing tracker. Clearly, Microsoft wants their wearable fitness tracker to go above and beyond the competition.
In addition, the Microsoft Band is incorporating some of the components of pure smart watches like the Apple (News - Alert) Watch into their interface. Wearers can receive text message and call alerts from their connected smart phones on the Band, as well as notifications from applications like Twitter (News - Alert), Uber, and RunKeeper. It seems that Microsoft is targeting the revamped version of their Band to people who do not require all the bells and whistles of the feature-heavy Apple Watch and who also are looking for a more intensive fitness tracking wearable.
In addition, this year’s version of the Band fixes one of the biggest gripes that reviewers had about it when it was originally released: the look and feel. Many complained that the Band was too large and clunky, that it got in the way too much and was annoying to wear. This year’s model is a lot sleeker, with a curved glass touchscreen face that is visually appealing and more comfortable. Microsoft deserves credit for listening to the feedback from its customers and creating a more aesthetically pleasing model that also includes more functionality.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere
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