Microsoft has announced a huge update to the Microsoft Band, allowing consumers to live healthier and be more productive. Thanks to user feedback, Microsoft is rolling out a web dashboard, biking functionality for the Microsoft Band, new ways to scan and respond to incoming notifications, and integration with Microsoft HealthVault and MapMyFitness.
“For the last three months, we’ve monitored feedback carefully from customers, partners and media. While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, we are continuing to listen to our customers and make improvements based on their feedback,” said Matt Barlow, General Manager of New Devices Marketing. “This feedback is at the heart of the decisions we make, and today we’re pleased to take our first steps in launching new features and functionality for Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health that address what we’re hearing.”
Starting with the Bike tile, users can track their rides both indoors and outdoors. The new features include a heart rate monitor, optimized specifically for biking activities. You can track elevation, distance and duration, as well as calories burned via the Microsoft Health app. Users can activate the GPS on the Microsoft Band to map a ride in the mobile app and share it with friends. You can also track your current and average speeds, see an estimate for how long it will take your body to recover from a ride, and see your activity on the new web dashboard.
Here are some other key features of the Microsoft Band update:
- Guided Workouts: Five new indoor biking workouts have been added to the Guided Workouts portfolio, including: Indoor Bike Tabata Sprints, Indoor Bike Hour of Sweat, Indoor Bike Total Body, Indoor Bike Pyramid, and Indoor Bike Intervals.
- Quick Read: Quick Read provides another option to scan incoming texts, emails and other notifications. When enabled, notifications are displayed in a large font size and in rapid succession of words enabling users to read messages while in motion and without the need to scroll.
- Virtual Keyboard & Voice Replies for Windows Phone 8.1 Users: Windows Phone 8.1 users can craft replies to text messages in two ways. Users can reply to text messages using the virtual keyboard with minimal errors with the help of Microsoft’s World Flow technology, which predicts commonly used words and phrases. They can also dictate responses with voice, powered by Cortana.
Microsoft has also announced the Microsoft Band SDK Developer Preview. This SDK will allow third party developers to build innovative new apps and creative new experiences for the Microsoft Band. Developers can head over here to check out the SDK.
— Paul Britton (@paulstorms) February 23, 2015
The Microsoft Health web dashboard is also one of the new features introduced today, ensuring a better experience for consumers. "The more users use their Microsoft Band, the more valuable these insights will become. The web dashboard is accessible via any web browser, providing a powerful complement to the Microsoft Health mobile app, which helps users track progress to their fitness goals," Microsoft explains. Microsoft Band users can access the personal Microsoft Health web dashboard here.
Microsoft Band users can also sync their data to their MapMyFitness account. To link a MapMyFitness account to Microsoft Health data, simply go to "Connected Apps" in the menu of the Microsoft Health app. If you are a user of MapMyFitness and own a Microsoft Band, you can now integrate both experiences!
The update was released today and will roll out over the next few days to all Windows Phone, Android and iOS users. We'll let you know when it becomes available, so stay tuned! You can purchase a Microsoft Band at your local retail Microsoft Store, as the devices are not yet available online.