Microsoft Band springs into wearables race

Microsoft Band.
Microsoft Band.

The new contender hurdles platforms to take coaching from Windows, iOS and Android smartphones

Microsoft has entered the burgeoning wearables and fitness market with the launch of Microsoft Band, a $199 wristband that tracks users' exercise and sleep patterns, pays for their coffee and alerts them to e-mails.

Unlike the wearable products of competitors Apple, Google and Samsung, the Microsoft Band will work not only on Windows but also on rival operating systems. This will mean iOS and Android users will be able to operate the Microsoft Band with their smartphone.

Microsoft has signed deals with a number of third-party brands including Starbucks, which will allow customers pay for their coffees by swiping the device under a reader.

The band is currently only available to buy in the U.S. though Microsoft’s online shop. It will run for around two days on a single charge and has 10 sensors that measure heart rate, calorie burn, sleep quality and a person’s exposure to UV rays. It also alerts wearers to e-mails and calendar appointments.

The device will connect to a user’s smartphone via a health app, and will also hook up to social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Microsoft has produced a video introducing the gadget.

The company said that thanks to "deep collaboration with Microsoft Research, Microsoft Health and Microsoft, Band will only continue to add more capabilities."

Zulfi Alam, Microsoft’s general manager of personal devices, said: "Imagine you’ve set the goal that you want to get fit and lose weight as part of your exercise routine.

"Based on your burn rate and exercise over one week, we will soon be able to auto-suggest a customised workout plan for you.

"As you follow that plan, or if you don’t follow the plan, our technology will continue to adjust to give you the best outward-looking plan, like a real coach would do."

This story first appeared on

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