Microsoft Band Wearable: 9 Key Issues

Microsoft has packed its wearable Band with advanced sensors, cloud-powered health insights, and an affordable price. Is Microsoft ahead of the curve in this new mobile market?

has more standalone functionality than many wearables. Apple Watch, for example, can only use GPS data when paired with an iPhone, meaning that if you want your Apple Watch to collect location data while you jog, you'll need to bring your iPhone, too. With Band, this won't be the case.

Other fitness bands, such as Fitbit's Surge, also include GPS, but Band promises richer functionality, especially if used with a Windows Phone. Band also appears to strike a decent battery life compromise. Microsoft says the device will go up to two days between charges -- around twice as long as Apple Watch's battery is expected to last. Band's battery life isn't in the same league as some Android Wear devices, which can go up to five days without a recharge, let alone Fitbits that run up to a week. But again, if Microsoft's cloud integration is all it's alleged to be, Band's feature set might beat those of its more power-efficient peers.

8. Band isn't a fashion statement.
Unlike Apple Watch, Band isn't a fashion statement. That's not to say it's unattractive -- but whereas Apple will probably sell some smartwatches on aesthetics alone, Microsoft's wearable is comparatively clunky. Microsoft doesn't even offer interchangeable bands so that users can jazz up and personalize their Bands, though the device does come in three different sizes.


Not a fashion statement

9. App ecosystems remain a wild card.
With Band, Microsoft's biggest strategic play appears to be Microsoft Health, not the device itself. But aside from Microsoft Health and Cortana, it's not clear how much deep functionality Microsoft believes wearable devices should possess. Apple, in contrast, developed a rich UI designed to support a large ecosystem of apps. Google, meanwhile, has been updating Android Wear to make devices less reliant on smartphones. It's still debatable how much and what kind of functionality people want from wrist-worn devices, so over time, differences in app ecosystem models could become a bigger issue. Does one type of wearable intrigue you more than another? Let us know in the comments.

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