Microsoft Band Wearable: 9 Key Issues - InformationWeek

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10/31/2014
08:30 AM
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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?
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Microsoft Band includes 10 sensors.
Microsoft Band includes 10 sensors.

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Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 9:32:42 AM
Is Band a hit?
Microsoft Band sold out online almost immediately, and there are reports of long line at Microsoft retail stores, which are usually pretty lonely places.

It's too early to say if Band has really inspired demand. After all, Surface models have sold out on the first day too, and in most of those cases, that had more to do with limited inventory than high demand. Still, Band seems to have more positive first-week buzz than any first-party device Microsoft in a while.

Any readers interested in buying one?

If so, were you already interested in wearables? Or is Band the device that finally won you over?

Anyone who'd been waiting on Apple Watch tempted to get Band instead?

 

 
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 9:34:46 AM
One to watch (haha, get it?)
This does look like a nice product. A colleague came back from lunch yesterday carrying a Microsoft Store bag with a shiny new wearable band in it. As he put it, "Well that's my productivity for this afternoon blown."

I'm a little intrigued by the idea of licensing out the hardware components; Microsoft again seems to fear being the one making both the hardware and the software for a product, and is immediately falling back on licensing as a way to spread the love (and risk), even though chances are somebody else can do a better job putting a product together for less money.


Still, the value in all this data - as with all data - is what you do with it. If the MS "insights" are good, that could be a deal-sealer for many people. Now, is there an iOS App to go with it?   ;-)
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 9:40:17 AM
Re: One to watch (haha, get it?)
There is an iOS app to go with Band! And an Android one too. You need Windows Phone for Cortana functions, but compared to a lot of others, Microsoft isn't trying to use its wearable to corner you into its ecosystem.

In fact, at least one report says Band will integrate with Apple's HealthKit, which is really interesting, given that Microsoft Health plays in the same space.
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 9:55:18 AM
Re: One to watch (haha, get it?)
The idea that it will integrate with Apple's HealthKit is indeed a fascinating concept. My mind is currently somewhat boggled by the idea. I can only assume then that the wearables unit has been given permission to go try and make money any way it can. There's some sense to that though - I'm fairly unlikely to walk away from Apple's ecosystem just for a wearable band; it would have to be phenomenal for me to even consider it. But if I can buy their hardware and use it with the iPhone, maybe there's a win there, even if there's no Ford Cortana.
malharden
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malharden,
User Rank: Strategist
10/31/2014 | 10:29:49 AM
Hmmmm
Is it a coincidence that the coverage of MSFT devices starts with the word "issues" in the title, while the coverage of Apple devices is generally warm and flowery?

 

And the first poster immediately brings up Apple, rather than discuss MSFT's tool?

 

It sort of implies a fixed prism that everything gets viewed through. One might even say a "bias".

 

Just sayin.
BoydMoon
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BoydMoon,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/31/2014 | 10:38:37 AM
Re: Hmmmm
Got the same impression ... if MS gets a win, they must be lucky.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 10:48:14 AM
Less is more?
Smart move by Microsoft -- at least strategically against Apple -- to release an affordable wristband wearable with features focused on health and fitness and some messaging. It's not trying to be an uber watch that does everything for everybody. The Fitbit is taking the same tack as Microsoft with Surge. If people take to these bands that do 10 things really well, then Apple Watch will seem bloated when it hits the market. We shall see.
D. Henschen
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D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 10:51:16 AM
GPS independence, good; battery life, weak; need for accuracy, overblown
I see the big pluses of this device being built-in GPS tracking and low price. For athletes, watches that rely on phones for GPS are losers. It's also a big plus that the band works with other phones and popular third-party sites like MapMyFitness and RunKeeper.

I see the two-day battery life as a big negative. I have a Nike+ GPS watch that lasts 10 days at a minimum. The old Nike+ sportbands (now-antiquated devices that required a shoe sensor) lasted 30+ days. I have a Polar watch that supports heartrate monitoring (but not GPS) that runs for more than  a year on a single replaceable battery. Most GPS watches last far longer than 2 days.

As for this repeated "if it's accurate" caveat, I think that's a bit overblown. Consistency is more important that raw accuracy. Even if the measurements are off by a few percentage points one way or the other, they're probably consistently off. The real point of measurement is seeing the increases, decreases and trends over time. If you see a faster return to resting heart rate after intense excercise, for example, that's a sign of progress wheather the resting-pulse measurement is 55 or 60. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2014 | 11:12:41 AM
Re: One to watch (haha, get it?)
The price and timing are intriguing; I am surprised Apple will miss the holiday season with its watch. However MS buyers will wonder "Is this the next Zune?" Does it have staying power?
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 11:20:34 AM
Re: One to watch (haha, get it?)
Wow, I am surprised by the price. It is definitely an appealing selling point. It is coming out in perfect time for when people do holiday shopping. I think this might be a hit! I would like to hear more reviews though, before I consider purchasing it.
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