Last week Microsoft prepared users of the Microsoft Band and complimentary diagnostic app for a significant update to the platform. The new update promised to bring support for more insights regarding activities and some tweaks to the band's performance.
Today, that update hit the Windows Phone Store and online web service. The update does indeed include changes to sleep tracking. Microsoft Band users no longer have to set their band manually for sleep monitoring. The Microsoft Health platform also added competitive rankings and stats to the health dashboard. Now Band users can track and compare the stats of friends as well as their own. This addition is inline with many fitness tracking sites and devices like the Fitbit, Fuelband and Endomondo activity tracker. Microsoft Health users will also notice some of the subtle visual changes to the insights layout in the app.
Lastly, for anyone who has yet to buy a Microsoft Band, they can use their phones as step and calorie counter. The new update enabled the app to tap into Windows 8.1 devices that support SensorCore technology. This addition is a welcome feature for those who may be cautiously trying out the tracking aspects of Microsoft Health without committing to a $200US purchase or who are waiting for a v2 of the device.
Another understated update to the app is the visual change represented in the logo. No longer does the white outline of the Microsoft Band appear against a purple background. The new app has a tiled (similar to Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone live tiles) heart against the same purple background. Perhaps this is indicative of Microsoft preparing to roll up the MSN Health & Fitness app into the Microsoft Health platform. As it stands now, the Microsoft Band offers more insights and tracking than the MSN Health & Fitness. Adding the nutritional and workout components of the MSN Health & Fitness into Microsoft Health and tied into Microsoft Vault as well, would make this possibly the most robust health platform on mobile and desktops around.