Last week (Oct. 29), Microsoft released a video (embedded below) announcing its new wearable, Microsoft Band.'
The company describes it as a "smart band... powered by Microsoft Health" that allows users to "live healthier, be more productive, and stay connected with the people and moments that matter most."
Unlike many other wearables, which are exclusive to a specific OS (e.g. Android wearables only connect to Android phones), the Microsoft Band is compatible with Windows Phone, Android or iOS. For Windows Users, it connects with Cortana for voice command and search. It retails for $200, but Gizmodo reports its SDK won't release until early 2015, so users are limited to its existing features and integrations until it opens up to developers.
Gizmodo's Mario Aguilar (Nov. 7) said the Band's strengths are in its sensors and ability to track useful metrics (heart rate, run/step stats, GPS, calories, sleep, UV, etc.). As for weaknesses, he said the touchscreen interface is "a big disappointment," noting it's not pretty and notifications are "almost more of a pain than they're worth." He suggests waiting until developers jump on the Microsoft Health platform and the company works out some of the UI kinks before you buy one.
ZDNet's Matthew Miller was more impressed overall (Nov. 6): "The Microsoft Band looks great, the constant heart rate monitor does a solid job both day and night, the multi-platform support is more than we have seen from anyone else, and the smartwatch functionality is more powerful than I imagined."