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Microsoft Band receives more tracking features in latest update

Microsoft has announced plans to add more tracking features on the Microsoft Band wearable fitness device, starting with an update on Thursday, April 23. The company also announced new updates for the Microsoft Health website that will go live on April 27.

In February, Microsoft added a Bike Tile to the Microsoft Band to track cycling movements. Today, the company announced more partnerships surrounding this feature:

"The U.S. Census Bureau reported the number of people who commute to work by bicycle has increased about 60 percent over the past decade. Building upon our Bike Tile introduction in February, we are thrilled to expand cycling functionality through partnerships with popular Bike apps, MapMyRide and Strava. Starting on April 23, Microsoft Band customers will be able to wear their device during rides and compare performance or share routes with other riders using these apps."

Microsoft Health users will also be able to track more categories of fitness data starting next week. Here's what will be added:

  • "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, Microsoft stated that Microsoft Health users will be able to track track daily steps and calorie burn data with information provided via the company's iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps "in the coming weeks"

Source: Microsoft{.nofollow}

121 Comments
  • Microsoft band soon in other countries till end of 2015
  • Great updates. Now I really want then to combine all their health platforms in W10. As it stands, I have two mobile "health" apps and another I can only use the web for.
  • Hm I don't know. I just wrote a paper on quantified self. And combining multiple databases isn't such a good idea at the moment.
  • That is disheartening. Then rebuild a single platform that has all the same functionality. It will take time but it would be a better user experience then the three separate platforms they have now.
  • Or, you know, find someone that wrote a paper that says combining databases is a good idea. ;)
  • I meant it from the privacy aspect. The service gets improved tremendously by combining databases. Although it might still not be easy.
  • Just need a water resistant model....
  • I don't think so. It's a fitness band.
  • For sweat purposes, it's not a bad idea.
  • I sweat like a pig when I exercise and my band is totally fine. It is good enough to be worn even in light rain. It just isn't good enough to be submerged in water so no swimming or heavy rains.
  • Pigs don't sweat, haha.
  • Oh they do, come over to my gym some day, I'll show ya.
  • LOL!
  • I got caught in a heavy rain (with small hail) about a mile from my house while running Sunday. I covered the Band with my soon-to-be soaked shirt for added protection, but I don't know that it added anything other than peace of mind. I don't know how much water actually reached the Band, but no electronics or sensors were damaged as far as I can tell. It seems to be functioning normally 3 days later.
  • Mircosft is not going to certify that it can withstand 10 M of water pressure.  Version 2.0 will have some level of waterproofing.
  • @Zulfigar... Sweat doesn't play a factor considering water resistance. You can wash dishes while wearing the band. I understand that's the old way of doing things, but the fact still remain. Water resistance would only benefit swimming, diving, and the like. It's also safe to wear your band in the rain should you be without an umbrella. This is a huge update if you are into exercising. The band has been a great companion device, and motivator. I'm specifically excited to try out the VO2 Max and Run/Exercise Observation features as I jog often (4 times/week; 4 miles/jog). I am 5'10" weighing in at 205 lbs. My goal is to drop down between 185 - 190lbs.
  • So is swimming I think
  • wpfan1995, soooo your saying, people don't sweat? :P. Or that people don't want to use it during swimming? Last I checked that was also classed as an exercise :p.
  • Well,sweat does not affect on any electronic device you wear & this a fitness band not a watch(but can do more than a watch which is so amazing). Consider a Lumia Watch maybe? Sounds silly though :)
  • I wear mine all day as a watch and fitness band. I like the fit and feel of the Band and with the benefit of notifications, I easily gave up my Timex Ironman. Having a model that goes beyond sweat-proof would give me a little more peace of mind when it rains, out in a boat or sweating gallons (as if someone is soaking me with a water hose) while mowing the yard.
  • Waterproof feature is almost a given for any fitness band
  • No it is not. Water resistant and water proof are different. Most bands and watches now a days are water resistant. So is the Band. But these are not water proof and companies advice users, not to wear them while swimming or any action that is likely to submerge it in water. However, there are special fitness trackers for swimming. Unfortunately the ones I know are primarily swimming devices. they capture your strokes, length covered, claories burnt while swimming etc. Those are truly water proof. But they are not as feature rich for 'drier' excersises like running or pumping weights in the gym. For those doing both, you need to two seperate bands/trackers. Rest are just resistant. wearing them while you are sweating or even in light rain is fine. It is 'advised' that you must not wear it while taking a shower, but some people claim that even that has not affected the band. But why would wear a watch or fitness tracker while taking a shower is totally beyond me.
  • Or maybe a more comfortable model that can be worn all day. I just find typing on a laptop uncomfortable while wearing the band. I know, I can remove, I'm not doing physical activity during computer use, but it would be great if I can just wear it all day without having to take off. I have a FitBit Surge, and while it looks a bit bulky, its comfortable to wear all day. 
  • At first I did find it too bulky for my taste but I've gotten used to it and I never take it off. That of course doesn't mean that I wouldn't like a less bulky model. Here's hoping for the Band 2 to be less awkward to wear.
  • Agreed..... This has been my experience as well.
  • I agree George. It would be nice.
  • It's more reistant that MS will say, likely to prevent people from going swimming with them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANcH-eLv9jw If you want to swim with a fitness tracker though, this information is of no use to you :D.
  • Having one that fully worked underwater would be cool.
  • It is water resistant actually. It has an IP67 rating. But it is not water proof if that's what you want..
  • IP 67 means the Band can be immersed in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes without damage.  There are a few specific issues with the rating (water depth shall be no more than 1 meter at deepest point of device and at least 15 centemeters deep from the shallowest point of the device top of the device.  Thus, wearing the Band while swimming may place the Band about one meter deep in water.  Obviously diving into a pool will certainly place the Band deeper than one meter in water. An IP67 rating essentially means you can use the device in most everyday circumstances.  However, there are two other IP ratings for water resistance (66 and 65).  This ratings determine if a device is protected from a jet of water.  Since there is no indication of the Band being subjected to this test, my assumption is that you should not spray a water jet on the Band.
  • I know what the IP rating means. I was just merely pointing out the difference between water resistant and water proof. 
  • I have a band and from what I understand its the microphone in the band that makes it  less water resistant. Maybe if they sell a version without cortana but make it more water resistant.
  • It's water resistant...as had to be said on every thread about Band. Somebody tested it submerged and it did just fine.
  • Now release Band 2.0
  • Not likely anytime soon.
  • hmm, you think so? You know they are working on it. I'm thinking Q4 this year or Q1 2016. 
  • If it follows the cycle time of the Surface line, the Band 2.0 will be announced around June/July. Cross-fingers :)
  • There's no evidence they're working on a successor.
    The current model is only a (beta at best) technology demonstrator intended to get other manufacturers to licence and build the tech themselves. None have been interested. So now MS are stuck with a technically capable high-demand product they didn't really want to manufacture more than an initial batch of.
    No one knows if they'll bother with a successor. Or how wrong they'll get it.
  • I would not go that far.  FitBit maybe interested.  But the Band has more to do with Health Vault which is intended for the health care industry.  Think of it as the back office information system that connects the hospital to the patient remotely.  The Band is definately a First Gen device.  It works and it is selling.  Does anyone know how many have sold?  1000?  10,000?  100,000?   On November 14, 2014 Microsoft said they have sold well over 5000 units.  Since the Band was released on October 30th, 2014, it seems the demand was far higher than Microsoft expected.  How long did it take to build this initial 5000 unit supply?  3 months? You have two issues.  First, how easy is it to manufacture the Band?  Second, how quickly did Micorsoft recognze the interest in the Band?  Since they have increased Band availablity by selling through Best Buy (750 stores) and other channels and now in the UK, my expectation is that they have adjusted production capacity and improved reliability of manufacture.  Has anyone thought to go to Best Buy and look at their inventory models?  Have a store clerk look at the number of available units at the nearest stores?  The screen will show you 2 numbers, amount in stock and stock level.  So if each store has a stock level of 5 units but only 1 in inventory, you are looking at someting like 35,000 units avaible thorugh Best Buy's stores and they have sold most of them.  However, if they have a stocking level of 1 and one in inventory, then they are selling amybe 1000 units.  The question I cannot answer is how fast the inventory flips.   You could ask a store clerk how often they have restock the store.   Another question is how fast did they send the model to engineering for improvements?  Or did they wait to see how people use the device and what improvements they need to want in the device?  Most improvements maybe software related.  We are seeing organic growth in the app market for the Band.  However, the hardware needs refinement.  Microsoft may also be waiting on Intel or someone else to produce a more efficient processor (Intel could use its 14 nm node to make a better wearable processor).  This processor would need bluetooth and wifi connectivity.  Not hard for Samsung, Intel, TSMC, and others.  But is the processor available?  We did see that Intel indicated in January they were shipping CherryTrail (Atom x7).  Now we see Microsoft releasing Surface 3 for late May launch.  You have to believe that the Microsoft engineering group designed the Band and sent it to a former Nokia, now Microsft, plant to be manufactured in an intitial run of a few hundred units in order to understand manufactureing issues. Then Microsft decided to introduce the product on a limited basis.  The more improve manufactureing mobeld sold out quickly.  So, Microsft said, lets make a better version.  That was 6 months ago.  I expect the engineering work is done, the manufactureing process is ungoing and the Release date will be between Holloween and Thanksgiving, 2015
  • 2.0? they just finally started mass producing them, do you know how many people they would piss odd if they made a supiorier model now? "hey everyone, we now have enough stock to sell the band" *waits a month* "suckers, were done with that one, heres the new one"   sounds a bit douchey dont it?
  • Maybe they could call it the iBand then...
  • Maybe Microsoft says,Trade it in for version 2.0 (half off?).  But that is the reality of the first adopter phenomenon.  They will spend big bucks to buy the first and generally not bat an eye in buying version 2.    We are not talking millions of Bands sold.  We are talking about tens of thousands of bands sold.
  • More than comparing to similar people I want to compare to people who I choose to be able to keep a friendly competition.   They don't really say if that will be possible but I kind of doubt it.
  • Well essentially what your asking is a "friends list", so I do think it is possible.
  • Exactly. It's easy enough to do with fitbit and others. I wish Microsoft would realize the social possibilities.   Before anyone mentions 3rd party applications. I've tried them (runkeeper, fitnesspal, etc.) and they either stopped publishing the app for Windows Phone or the app is so pitiful when compared to the iOS/Android counterpart that it's not worth it.
  • "Runtastic" was my favorite before Microsoft Health was published.
  • Would like to see weight tracking right on the band as well... 
  • they went and removed weight strength tracking from their mui health app awhile ago, was so sad about that
  • Now, only if the notification tile worked on my band - it would be perfect!
  • Sometimes it helps to remove the band and reconnect it with bt and ms health. Fixed my broken email notifications.
  • works for me. Funny enough I have a fitbit that I wear sometimes also and the fitbit app notifications come through on my band
  • I wonder.. This is really a smart watch? :) hope they release with W10 IoT in it :) and available in most country around the globe :)
  • If only they can release a Band XT (extended) edition :) for longer lasting battery life to last a marathon time. I'll ditch my Garmin 620 right away.
  • How long do you run a marathon? 5-6 hours?
    The band with running, gps on and HR every sec on will last 5 hours sometime more...
  • 3:45- 4hrs and usually dies on me at around 3.5 hr on training runs. Even if it lasts 4 hrs, it's dead by the time you're home.
  • have you tried turning bluetooth off before your run? Also maybe shut the screen of after you start the run . On my band when I do my walks and go into run mode it keeps the screen on till I manually turn it off.
  • I tried BT off way back but not much difference. Turning the screen off us not an option if you want to stay on pace. The battery life issue is the reason its in my drawer most of the time. I been using it trying the band sunburn beta but that's about it.
  • I think there is a problem with yours  
  • Really glad they added a way to compare your sleep.  I tend to only get a couple hours of 'restful' sleep but I have no way of knowing if that is normal or not.
  • Agreed.  Would love to see ways of how to increase my "efficiency".
  • I'm very curious as well.  I get on average about 15-20 min of restful sleep.  Some nights it's none.  If others are getting an hour or more, it would be helpful to understand why.
  • Ah these are very good updates. Now I can start to understand what the data truly means.
  • Yes, we can analyze our progress :-)
  • Ah ha! Now I know why Satya Nadella was able to compare his Band stats with other users during that demo he did at Convergence. He was beta testing! I saw that feature and wondered how I had missed it on the web based Health app and then I searched all over for it with no luck. I am looking forward to having this feature available. The Band has been a great bit of tech and having the information it provides has kept me motivated to move more and eat better. Now, lets add compatability with MSN Health and Fitness and I'll be good to go.
  • Strava is HUGE win! Now I just need a 2nd generation (waterproof) Band to get released.
  • Yes it is. But, yet there is no Strava app on WP. 
  • I gave up my band, returned it. It just wasn't worth $200 to me, since im not that into working out. I just expects more from it. Wish MS had a smartwatch, instead of a fitness band, with the sleep feature and a round display with a better OS, and a better API. Thousands of apps are already available for the apple watch but the MS band has like 15 that I could find, and they aren't even apps for the band they have to run on your phone. Deal breaker. I wish MS would make luxury electionics like apple, but with the great value and functionality of MS products. I wish I could design some stuff for them. But anyways, the band is great if you want a fitness band :)
  • I thought the apple watch required an iphone? 
  • It does. I'm not getting the Apple watch, just comparing.
  • Honestly, I don't really get the interest in a smartwatch that isn't a fitness band.  I don't own but could justify a fitness band because of the fitness related features.  There is nothing a smartwatch offers me that I can't get with just my phone.  I get the appeal of being able to see notifications without taking your phone out of your pocket, but let's face it, the great majority of those notifications will require some sort of input or action that will be better done on a phone anyway.  It's a nice to have, no doubt, but it's not worth spending $350 for that alone.  I can also see it being more useful for a woman than a man, because in many cases their phone is in their purse which is less convenient to access than a pants pocket.  At least for now, I will take a good looking mechanical watch over any of the current smart watches.  The only one that has me even remotely interested is the MS band.  The only thing holding me back is that I wish it were a little slimmer.  Regardless, I am curious, what features are you looking for that make you want something like an iwatch?
  • The design, the huge developer support, and the API. But honestly, I don't want one, but it is more appealing than the MS band was, in many ways.
    I also want it too look more like a mechanical watch and have the option to do everything by voice by talking to Cortana, with way more continuous voice control options, and I want it to have its own apps, that can run on its own screen. I have some ideas and sketches on how to make the screen as small as a regular watch but then expand when in use.
    I get what you said about being able to do stuff easier with your phone, but I want my watch to replace my phone for doing simple tasks, and yet still work with it.
    I also want my phone to be able to become my laptop, with a projector, and a kickstand and mini display port,. Bluetooth keyboard or even a docking station with USB C . You see, I have a dream. :)
  • Haha! :) I suspect battery life is going to be a reliability problem for the Apple Watch early adopters. My Band's endurance gives me plenty of flexibility but about twice I've forgotten to plug it in for a couple of days then got caught without a charger nearby. This looks like a great set of updates and I expect Version 2 of both to be even better.
  • That is true. The apple watch battery is a huge problem for fitness uses. But with the advancing of battery technology and the potential of aluminum batteries I think that well see a huge improvement of battery life in consumer elections in the near future, and then making the watch look good and yet still have great battery vitality won't be so much of a problem. Like I said the MS band is great for fitness, miles better than the iwatch :)
  • We think alike bro. Lol
  • Apple will sell alot of Apple Watches and make a ton of money.  iOS is a strong ecosystem.   Win10 needs to capture some love from the market and hopefully convince millions that WinTel is ready to compete in mobile. 
  • These are updates are fantastic! Strava integration is most welcome! Keeps getting better and better!!
  • So does this mean an offficial Strava app is coming to Windows Phone?  I use Cyclometer now which is a great app, but I am always concerned that these individual developers will lose interest and stop supporting the app.  That can obviously happen with companies too as we all know, but right or wrong, I feel the risk is greater with the solo guys.  Higher risk of burnout if they aren't doing it full time due to the significant time commitment between updates and support.  And they are a life changing event away from losing interest whether it be a new job, new spouse, new phone platform, etc.
  • After last update my pc band sync stopped working.  Hope it gets resolved like to sync my data when I let my band charge while at work (now).  Support was nice but really not helpful.  I am welcoming these new features I just wish they enable the sleep tracking without button push my graph looks like I don't sleep.
  • Very exciting to see continued updates, especially integration with popular services like MapMyRide and Strava. It takes some of the sting out of all the Apple Watch news (like seeing Citibank advertise their Apple Watch app; and I expect we'll soon see big gym franchises and equipment makers fall over each other to announce that their equipment connects to Apple Watch, and soon after Android Wear).
  • I had to return my Band. I so badly wanted it to work but as it turns out no optical wrist band is going to be real accurate compared to a chest strap. Also and it was the final straw that lead me to return it was I drove from Salem OR to Vancouver WA and when I got there my Band said I took over 3500 steps. I hadn't even taken one step. ​
  • While I was using it, I actually found the hr data comparable to chest strap.
  • For me the HR average and high were pretty close at the end, but during my workout I would glance at both and the rate on the Band was mostly always lower. I like what their trying to do and I think for many this will be a good way for them to create and hopefully stay on a healthier lifestyle.
  • You opinion matter :) make sure you send it to the feedback team  
  • I had an Adidas miCoach chest strap HR monitor that I used toward the end of last year. I thought the readings were kind of high, but I only used it during workouts, so I wasn't sure how accurate it was. My first Band was pretty on par with the chest strap, but I soon discovered that the HR monitor in the Band was faulty as it read anywhere from 10-50 beats too high. The miCoach chest strap may have just been low quality as well, but my warranty replacement Band has been very accurate when I'm at rest, and the readings seem reasonable during workouts. As for the step counter, I haven't noticed any false readings while driving, even considering I drum on the steering wheel along with my music about 40% of the time I'm on the road.
  • Bumpy road.  OR you like to drum on your dash board.
  • Like poit57 above, I don't seem to have that issue with diving/drumming. I am suspicious that my piano playing sometimes looks like walking. Looks like more testing is in order. :)
  • Also it would always show burning well over 400 calories more then my Polar when I compared them numerous times during workouts. ​
  • Just take the band off while you're driving
  • Gee, thanks for that advise. :o)
  • Taking it off while you are driving will not record false steps  an distort your daily step results. 
  • When I talked with the Microsoft Band rep he told me it's not going to be as accurate as a Polar chest strap due to the different type of tech used. The Band he said is designed mostly for beginners and not serious atheletes to help get them on an exercise program of some kind and be able to monitor their results and hopefully it will help them have fun and keep going. I really like the sleep function though just have to wonder if workouts, steps, and calories burned are off, is the sleep function off as well? Anyway I'll hope and wait for Band 2 and maybe they'll come out with Band 2 Pro that will keep all current functions and add the ability of a strap that would override the light sensor on the wrist unit when worn. But on the Pro version remove all the FB, Messaging kinda stuff that really has nothing to do with health. That stuffs what my phones for. :o)
  • 1. iOS 2. Android 3. Windows Phone
  • Android is the most used OS, so shouldn't it be No. 1?
  • VO2 addition is great as is the demographic comparison, but automatic sleep tracking would be even better!
  • Man, they're actually doing a really good job with the Microsoft Band. It's a lot more appealing than I initially thought it would be. I wish the design was a bit more streamlined. If they could get the price down to $149, too, that would be huge. They need to further increase the integration with Xbox Fitness, though.
  • I can't believe you can still only track running and cycling. What about walking, hiking, kayaking, roller blading etc? Yes, I know I can track a hike with the run tile, but I really don't want a 15 mile hike showing up as my "longest run" in my stats. It really cant be that difficult to add exercise categories to a single tracking tile.
  • The band has very limited memory. So doing something like that is probably possible but we would need to delete other tiles?
  • Why have multiple tiles? Why not one "track" tile, then just select your sport category before you start (just Runtastic does for example). Absolutely no need for a separate tile for different sports.
  • Good idea :)
  • If only we could store music on the band and have access to hear it over bluetooth stereo headset. Then I could keep my bulky phone at home when jogging. That would be a cool feature that would also be unique to the band because of the built in GPS.
  • No need to store music on the band, that will make it bulkier and kill the battery.
    The perfect solution for me is a Sony Walkman W273S... £40.00 for 4GB of music and NO wires around your head... Very comfortable, fully waterproof (swimming!), great Sony sound... Total freedom... My phone (large Lumia 1520) now stays at home during exercise, just the band and the walkman... Very nice not to run with a phone anymore... http://www.amazon.co.uk/sony-nwz-w273s/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Asony%20nwz-w273s
  • MS should disable the region lock of the Band! I would like to use it the normal way, without US localization in my german Windows Phone.
  • This is not required. Using the Band w\o a Problem on a German L930.
  • I want to track oxygen saturation in the blood over a 15 minute period and store that data and visualize it in a graph. That combined with heart rate is great for freediving practice! :-D
  • I had my annual checkup with the doctor this morning; he noticed my Band and asked what kind it was. He hadn't heard about Microsoft Band but was impressed with its styling (first thing he commented on).When I showed him everything it does and he found out that it runs on all three major platforms he was even more positive. The icing was when it reminded me--while we were discussing the product--to ask him a question for my sister (He's the family doc). He told me that he's been thinking about getting a fitness tracker and I'm guessing he'll check this one out now. Now I'm waiting for the update.
  • Where's the update?
  • Excellent question....
  • Even still .....
  • No update I guess. Maybe tomorrow? Maybe on update Tuesday.. Ha [update]: no update as of yet.
  • Maybe the 27th huh?
  • Has anyone actually received this update yet? Ive power cyclw both devices
  • I'm not the only one that hasn't seen the update right? Neither my band more my app have been updated.
  • Nop... No update anywhere...
    I was hoping for an app and band update on the 24th... Nothing
    I was hoping for a new online dashboard l launch + an app & firmware update on the 27th... Nop nothing... Could it be that Win Central was miss-informed?
    Can Daniel do his magic and bring some light to this dark mystery???
  • Still no update, is there going to be an update?
  • And still no update right?
  • The Microsoft Health site is now updated / changed but no new firmware yet.
  • On the new online dashboard is great... Much more graph, data analysis capabilities etc...
    The "compare with other user" is good but basic (compare to the fitbit premium!)...
    Can anyone explains the comment in the bottom of the sleep page relating to "detected sleep"... Does the band automatically detect sleep ???
  • It appears to auto detect sleep if over 2 hrs:
    Detected sleep Microsoft Band will auto-detect sleep events over two hours long, even when your Sleep tile is off. However, if you want to track sleep restoration, be sure to set your Sleep tile in motion when you hit the sack.
  • Can the band read blood pressure?
  • hi, i travel a lot to other countries and my GPS on my microsoft band doesnt work why is that?
  • Does your GPS only not work in other countries.I can't seem to get mine to connect at all