Yes, we just got done telling you all about some Microsoft Band rumours, but don’t bother with those: The Microsoft Band is officially official. The 10-sensor fitness tracker, which should last two days on a charge, will go on sale tomorrow for $US200.
In addition to the obvious optical heart-rate monitor you can see in the picture above, it will include a UV sensor to keep track of your sun exposure, a galvanic skin response sensor to measure stress, and built-in GPS. The 18.5-millimetre band’s made of a “thermal plastic elastomer,” which means it’s probably nice, soft, and stretchy. It’s got a fairly tiny 1.4-inch touchscreen at just 320 x 106 resolution, and is powered by two 100mAh lithium-ion batteries.
There’s a lot stuffed in there:
The band is just one part of a new Microsoft Health initative to track and analyse the world’s health data, and is also just one way to collect it: Microsoft plans to let people use the Health app with other personal trackers. Much like Basis and Jawbone, which sell bands of their own, Microsoft hopes to turn that data into insights that people can actually use. Would you like to know whether eating breakfast helps you run faster? That’s literally one of Microsoft’s examples.
Microsoft is making this specific device relatively platform agnostic, so you can use the band with iOS and Android as well as Windows Phone, but one key feature is being held back: The band has a microphone to issue voice commands to Cortana, but those will only work if you pair the band to a Windows Phone device.
In addition to being a fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band will support all kinds of smartwatch-style notifications while you wear it, including email messages, calendar reminders, phone calls, Twitter and Facebook notifications, weather and stock information. You can scroll through tiles that show your personal stats, as well as a few different apps — including a Starbucks app that displays a scannable barcode so you can buy drinks without your phone handy. Microsoft’s also partnered with Gold’s Gym, MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, MapMyFitness, and (yes) Jawbone.
Here’s a full list of what it can do:
Also, there’s this video.