Surprise! Microsoft has unexpectedly confirmed that its début wearable, the Microsoft Band, will be available to US customers starting Thursday, October 30.
The company revealed tomorrow’s launch after savvy customers noticed the brand-new Microsoft Health app for the device popping up in not only the Windows Store, but also the Google Play Store for Android and Apple’s App Store.
The ultimate health tracker?
With a retail price of $199 USD, the Microsoft Band appears to be heavily focused on the fitness tracking possibilities of wearable technology.
The device is a health enthusiast’s dream, incorporating ten individual sensors that will help wearers keep track of just about everything: from heart rate and daily steps, to UV light exposure. Combined with the specially-designed Microsoft Health series of apps, the Band offers a comprehensive health and fitness profile to rival that of the upcoming Apple Watch.
Microsoft Health is available across Android and iOS devices as well as Windows Phone, and collects data from both the Band itself and other fitness tracking apps, including RunKeeper and MapMyFitness. This data is compiled in the Microsoft Health cloud service, making it easy for wearers to monitor health information such as workouts and sleep quality.
That's not all
Fitness tracking aside, the Band will also display notifications for texts and voice calls, and will support the Cortana digital assistant for Windows Phone. And the device isn’t just for Windows Phone users – the Band can be paired with any smartphone with Bluetooth connectivity that’s running a minimum of either Windows Phone 8.1, iOS 7.1, or Android 4.3.
Spec-wise, the Microsoft Band will feature a 1.4-inch touchscreen display with a 320x106 resolution, and the wristband itself is available in three sizes. Microsoft has stated that the Band is both water and dust resistant, and includes two 100mAh batteries for up to 48 hours of regular use.
As well as notifications from your smartphone, the Band can also display all the usual weather, email, stock and calendar info, as well as social media alerts. But most importantly, the Microsoft Band supports the Starbucks loyalty card, so wearers can easily follow up a Band-tracked workout with a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
There's no word yet on if and when the Band will be available to Canadian customers, but our fingers are crossed.