Ahead of Apple Watch, Microsoft beefs up its Band with new cycling trackers, blood oxygen calculator

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited April 2015
With the Apple Watch set to launch in a matter of hours, Microsoft this week announced new capabilities for its own wearable device, including support for new cycling apps, as well as the ability to measure cardiovascular fitness through blood oxygen levels.




The iOS-compatible $199 Microsoft Band has gained support for both MapMyRide and Strava. With an update to the Microsoft Health app, cycling data from the third-party services can be shared and integrated into the company's health tracking platform.

Both of these services can now be added through the official Microsoft Health app for iOS, under the "Connected Apps" menu. Still absent from the app, however, is integration with Apple's HealthKit, though Microsoft assured AppleInsider last fall that support for the Health app in iOS 8 is forthcoming.

More updates for the Microsoft Band are also coming as early as next week including a "VO2 max" calculator. This new capability determines the maximum volume of oxygen used during exercise, helping the wearer to determine their cardiovascular fitness level.




Microsoft said the new features will arrive "as early as April 27," but didn't give a specific timeframe. The full list of new capabilities, according to Microsoft, are:
  • Comparative Insights: Measures data such as daily steps, sleep, workout frequency and calorie burn and compares it to similar Microsoft Health customers based on body type (height and weight). Customers looking for motivation can use comparative insights as a benchmark to understand their health relative to similar people.
  • Sleep Recovery: Good sleep is the foundation of health, and something everybody does and needs. Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of sleep. Use the Microsoft Health web dashboard to analyze sleep restoration, sleep efficiency, and wake-ups, to find out how well the body restores its resources during sleep.
  • Fitness Benefit: Track fitness progress using historical data to measure improvement over time.
  • VO2 Max: VO2 max refers to the maximum volume of oxygen used during exercise, and is the primary indicator of cardiovascular fitness. Traditionally, measuring VO2 Max is cumbersome. Not anymore. Microsoft Band estimates VO2 max based on heart rate information. Now customers can track how their VO2 max increases as they improve fitness level and achieve their wellness goals, simply.
  • Run/Exercise Observations: Get more out of run and workout data with in-depth observations and insights. With a week of data, customers can determine which day of the week and at what time of day they perform best. Using historical data from as far back as five weeks, customers can track whether they're maintaining, progressing, or need to re-dedicate themselves. Analyze detailed stats to find specific aspects of runs and workouts that can be improved.
Finally, in the coming weeks, the Microsoft Health app for iOS will also add the ability to track daily steps and calories burned through the M-series motion coprocessors found in recent iPhone models. This will allow the platform to measure daily activity even when the user isn't wearing their Band.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33

    It may not be the prettiest device, but at least it isn't a Watch ripoff and it'll provide some honest competition.

  • Reply 2 of 33
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member

    No thanks. It's a ripoff. The Apple Watch can do far more and it doesn't look like heck. 

  • Reply 3 of 33
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    adonissmu wrote: »
    No thanks. It's a ripoff. The Apple Watch can do far more and it doesn't look like heck. 

    How can it be a ripoff when it came out before ?Watch? Still I think this is more of a niche device and ?Watch's biggest success will be that it's multi purpose, that it's not just a fitness device. And I'm glad to see Apple is going slow on sensors. I'd rather have a few sensors that were really accurate than a bunch that were thrown in a device so they could be put on a spec sheet.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    How can it be a ripoff when it came out before ?Watch? Still I think this is more of a niche device and ?Watch's biggest success will be that it's multi purpose, that it's not just a fitness device. And I'm glad to see Apple is going slow on sensors. I'd rather have a few sensors that were really accurate than a bunch that were thrown in a device so they could be put on a spec sheet.

    Ripoff in terms of price and it looks. It looks like a fit bit or a fuel band.... For $199 a Pebble or Moto Watch seems like a better buy. 

  • Reply 5 of 33
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    It may not be the prettiest device, but at least it isn't a Watch ripoff and it'll provide some honest competition.

    adonissmu wrote: »
    No thanks. It's a ripoff. The Apple Watch can do far more and it doesn't look like heck. 

    Which one of you is right? :lol:
  • Reply 6 of 33
    Uh... Microsoft version is a dedicated health device (with more sensors than apple watch) and ? watch is more of 'social gibberish' features. So there's that. Definitely good for competition.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 593member
    What do they mean, the Apple Watch will "launch in a few hours"? It launched on 10 April and some will start to be delivered tomorrow. To buy a watch, tomorrow will be no different than today, or yesterday. One still has to wait until June.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,716member
    Look at me! I'm still relevant! - Microsoft

    Still I blame Angela for not forseeing this from Microsoft. /s
    #BlameAngela
  • Reply 9 of 33
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,492member

    This isn't an Apple Watch "competitor." For those in the market for a workout-centric specific device, it seems OK.

     

    I'd be curious just how accurate the VO2 measurement is. While comparative measurements (day-over-day) are fine to show progress, the science behind VO2 max is predicated on some accuracy. If this is off by more than a couple percent (likely) it is not going to particularly useful for serious athletes.

  • Reply 10 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,373member
    It may not be the prettiest device, but at least it isn't a Watch ripoff and it'll provide some honest competition.

    I hear if you die using it the screen goes blue ... ;)
  • Reply 11 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,373member
    jungmark wrote: »
    Look at me! I'm still relevant! - Microsoft

    Still I blame Angela for not forseeing this from Microsoft. /s
    #BlameAngela

    Did they hold a mock funeral for ?Watch yet? I hope they do it seems to bring good luck to Apple. :D
  • Reply 12 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,373member
    dasanman69 wrote: »

    Which one of you is right? :lol:

    Ask the question ... Had Apple never announced way back it was going to make an ?Watch, would Microsoft and the rest of the copycats gone down this road? Had Apple announced they were going to make a health necklace or a hearing aid with Siri in your ear, I am sure they'd all have them ... :no:
  • Reply 13 of 33
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    Ask the question ... Had Apple never announced way back it was going to make an ?Watch, would Microsoft and the rest of the copycats gone down this road? Had Apple announced they were going to make a health necklace or a hearing aid with Siri in your ear, I am sure they'd all have them ... :no:

    When did Apple officially announce that they were going to make a watch?
  • Reply 14 of 33
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member

    When did A

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    When did Apple officially announce that they were going to make a watch?



    I think it was round about the same time they announced they were working on a TV.

  • Reply 15 of 33
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,373member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    When did Apple officially announce that they were going to make a watch?

    I'd have to check but a while ago. It was a surprise to everyone on AI that they pre announced so far ahead I seem to remember. / 2 minutes later ... :) OK here you go ... the 'One more thing' moment, September 2014.

    http://www.apple.com/live/2014-sept-event/

    1000
  • Reply 16 of 33
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    One thing about ?Watch that I like is Apple isn't superficially trying to make it look like a traditional watch. Jony Ive said it doesn't make sense to compare a traditional watch to the functionality and capabilities of ?Watch. I think the idea that someone who wears expensive traditional watches will give them up for a cheap Android Wear watch that tries to look like a traditional watch with a round display and skeuomorphic traditional watch face is laughable. And now that Android Wear OEMs are all rushing to do round they're just going to be a sea of sameness especially with 3rd party watch faces where everyone can have the same copywrited Tag, Rolex, Omega, etc. watch face. And if you chose a non-traditional watch face the watch will look just as dorky as some think ?Watch looks.

    CDS-84OWEAAGnKW.jpg
  • Reply 17 of 33
    idreyidrey Posts: 643member
    Who cares! My ?Watch will be here tomorrow Haa Haaaa! Can't freaking wait ????
  • Reply 18 of 33
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    I'd have to check but a while ago. It was a surprise to everyone on AI that they pre announced so far ahead I seem to remember. / 2 minutes later ... :) OK here you go ... the 'One more thing' moment, September 2014.

    http://www.apple.com/live/2014-sept-event/

    1000

    Almost 8 months ago is not 'awhile ago'. Though it was rumored there was no official word. It's more of a ripoff of the Fitbit than the Apple Watch.
  • Reply 19 of 33
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

     

    No thanks. It's a ripoff. The Apple Watch can do far more and it doesn't look like heck. 




    A ripoff of what? The Apple Watch?

  • Reply 20 of 33
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    One thing about ?Watch that I like is Apple isn't superficially trying to make it look like a traditional watch. Jony Ive said it doesn't make sense to compare a traditional watch to the functionality and capabilities of ?Watch. 

     

    Interesting, I'd say that the ?Watch looks superficially like any rectangular traditional watch I've ever seen. And Ive is right, the functionality and capabilities of the watch doesn't make sense to compare to a traditional watch because the ?Watch can do so much more.

     

    Jony Ive also said that as soon as the customer wears something, they have the expectation of choice. It's clear he wasn't referring just to size and color since Apple already offers those options, so no need to single them out for the ?Watch. What he was most likely referring to of course is fashion -- a concept that uniquely places form over function. And it's clear Apple is going out of its way to exploit the fashion aspect of the watch, they've even becomes a watch band manufacturer. I see nothing to suggest that Apple will not explore every possible stylistic and fashion angle of the watch, color, shape, or size.

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