Microsoft Band fitness device gets a major upgrade


Microsoft’s rather nice fitness tracker and smart watch, the Microsoft Band, is just about to become much more powerful, as the software giant is about to launch a series of updates for the device, as well as a SDK (Software Development Kit) so that developers can make their own apps.

Microsoft Band becomes more powerful

Desktop users will now be able to check their various fitness records and data on a new web-based dashboard for Microsoft Health, which has many more features available than on the mobile Health app. It’s now possible to see extended data views and more detailed charts on your health statistics.

Microsoft Health

The Microsoft Band is also becoming much more useful with a dedicated Bike Tile, which apparently works with real and stationary bikes. The app itself includes a heart rate monitor that’s been optimised for biking, as well as elevation tracking and GPS so you can measure how many calories you’ve burned. It can also be used to track current and average speeds and also estimate how long it will take you to recover from a ride.

The Band’s guided workout software has now been updated with an additional five new indoor biking workouts, with your bike stats available on the new web dashboard. Microsoft Band also adds support for two fitness apps – MapMyFitness and Microsoft Health Vault.

In terms of the Band’s operating system, there have also been some improvements – you can now see a “quick read” feature to show notifications in a huge font to read messages while exercising without having to manually scroll between them, and Band owners with Windows Phone 8.1 can use a virtual keyboard (or voice recognition) to compose replies to messages.

The other nifty thing is the availability of the Microsoft Band SDK, which is a developer kit allowing coders to create their own Band apps or integrate with existing apps. Anyone interested in creating apps for the Band can find out more at Microsoft’s developer page for Band.