Just a couple of days after Fitbit showed off their latest three gadgets, Microsoft has thrown themselves into the ring with their own. The Microsoft Brand is a fitness tracker/smart watch style combo that the company is calling a “smartband”.
Not only is this a fitness band and watch, but it is also connected to a new service called Microsoft Health. Together, they make up a new attempt by the company to push their way into the ever increasing fitness niche that has become a core part of consumer electronics in the past couple of years.
According to their marketing video, we all spend too much time chained to our desks and “plugged in” thanks to constant connection to our mobile phones. That is kind of an ironic complaint, given that the source of the video is a company made famous by their desktop computers, that is desperately trying to become a leading force in smartphones, but we’ll overlook that.
The Microsoft Band is meant to help you appreciate the ‘little moments’ that can be easy to miss…by keeping you connected to things like your smartphone and computer features (such as messages). I don’t know if I get the advertising tactic.
At the very least, the Band itself looks like a solid product. You can set reminders through voice commands, get alerts, plan workouts, get social media messages, find information on exercise, track your body’s reactions and vitals, get calendar notifications, and some other pretty cool features. Instead of going for either a fitness tracker or a smartwatch, they have put them both together into a single tool that focused on both productivity and health.
Which brings us to Microsoft Health. This is their new platform that combines personal information taken from devices like the Microsoft Band, and industry information gathered by health professionals you see, and allowing access through a cloud service. This isn’t the first time it has been done, by a long shot, but with the Band it has a significant amount of weight behind the effort.
It will use what they are calling an ‘intelligence engine’ to track counts walks, calories burned, heart rate, respiration, ect, and then combine it with your cloud to provide more insight from all that data. For example, you can find out what activities have the most impact on your health, find recommended recovery time, and find out how much of your sleep was restful, versus what was not.
I am just gonna say it: Microsoft might have finally gotten ahead of the competition on a mobile product.