Microsoft has released new fitness-tracking band that offers some smartwatch-like features, says Christina Bonnington in an article for Wired. In addition to tracking biometric indicators, the band will also offer smartphone connectivity and some basic smartphone-like features such as GPS.
So, what exactly does it do? It does a lot of what other health-tracking bands like the Fitbit do: It tracks biometric information, such as the user’s heart rate, for example. But it also provides a UV index – helpful for joggers – and its GPS can offer ‘guided workouts’. Moreover, its corresponding software, Microsoft Health, is compatible with all major platforms – iOS, Windows Phone, and Android.
Bonnington suggests that the device is an early competitor against the Apple Watch, which is set to come out next year. And while the Apple Watch will certainly make use of similar biometric data, it’s also going to offer much more in terms of smartphone-like features, so it’s worth questioning just how much market share the two devices will be competing for. It’s also worth questioning how much market share the Microsoft Band can grab now, given that it’s about $70 more than the cheapest Fitbit, and the Windows Phone – whose users would be most likely to adopt such an accessory – has market share under five percent in the US, though Bonnington notes that it boasts of “moderate success” overseas.