Microsoft reportedly planning a Microsoft Band 2 for later this year

Important things like details are missing from the report, although it does say that "the second generation has already progressed very far" and it is being internally tested extensively.

I suppose that Microsoft releasing a second iteration of their Microsoft Band nearly one-year after the launch of the first is not news. The launch would likely coincide with the big Windows 10 push, which starts with Windows 10 for PC this summer and progress through Surface Pro 4, Mobile, Xbox One, and HoloLens throughout the rest of the year.

How could the Microsoft Band not be included in that roadmap? I think the bigger news would be that Microsoft canned the whole project.

It should be well understood at this point that the Microsoft Band is a Gen 1 device in limited quantity as Microsoft feels out the waters for wearables. The idea that any company has this stuff figured out is certainly immature. Everything from price points to features to design is all up in the air in 2015. Apple is clearly taking the high-price / 'jack of all trades' approach. FitBit is dipping its toe into the smartwatch category with Surge. Pebble is still a thing (though probably not for long) and Android Wear runs the full gamut.

At this point, Microsoft has likely taken a lot of the feedback from Band 1 and began fixing them for Band 2, which gets a more robust rollout this time around. In that sense, I expect some changes in design, more resilient materials, added features but likely the same price point.

Microsoft learned from the first generation of the Surface and Windows 8 that building something in secret does not always work out. Just read Panos Panay's mea culpa on this topic. This reason is why the Surface Pro 3 and Windows 10 is resonating so well because now the company is building the product more openly.

The same goes with Microsoft Band 2. Do a slow rollout, garner feedback, go back to the drawing board and do it bigger and better. Toss in some reactions from developers using the SDK and see what apps people are using, and you have a much better idea of how to build a successful product.

The big question I have: Will Microsoft Band 2 actually run Windows 10 or just bootstrapped firmware like the current version? You would think the a Band 2 would jump to Windows 10 for obvious reasons, but so far, we have no idea what Microsoft plans are in this regard.

Since the report lacks actual details (but the idea is highly plausible), we turn to you to ask what do you want to see in the Microsoft Band 2? Do you want a greater focus on smartwatch features or health? Should Microsoft try to make it as a proper smartwatch or a wearable accessory?


Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Also, can we get some Xbox One integration all up in this Band 2? Achievements and friends list need to happen ASAP.
  • What't the point of integrating xobx into a band? Just because it is another MS product it don't have to be integrated in everyone what MS develops. What colud you do on this probalbly low-res screen with your friends list? Nothing.
  • Compete for steps, share diets, and workouts. Studies have proven your friends health and diets have a huge impact on your own.
    I just want a little thinner, or same size, better battery (both is pushing it), more scratch and water resistance.
  • An Xbox fitness integration that ties in the health apps
  • The social aspect is why I still carry a Fitbit after I bought the Band.
  • Same here.
  • Ditto everyone think I am a fitness nut just enjoy the social parts on fitbit.
  • ^If this happens, I will definitely buy
  • We already have ms health
  • Tie it all together with ms health link it with Xbox fitness
  • yes deffenatly water resistant mine has gone in the shower 4 times with me, and i had to wait for it to dry for it to scroll again. OOPPSS.
  • Im getting cancer from all your misspelled words.
  • RIP
  • Haha that's funny
  • "What't the point of integrating xobx into a band?"
    Microsoft Band started in the Xbox division before becoming a standalone product. That's its DNA. It also currently has Cortana integration, which only works with Windows Phone. Reasons for Xbox integration? Fitness achievements are already a thing with Fitbit and other wearables. Microsoft already has a very, very popular Achievement system in place that has extended to media (TV) on the Xbox One. Reason 2: Microsoft Band right now lacks when compared to Fitbit because there is no social. Part of the fun of Fitbit is being able to challenge your friends, see what their stats are etc. Once again, Microsoft already has social with Xbox. Why re-invent the feature when they can just leverage existing property? Reason 3: It has nothing to do with "low res screen and friends list". It's about the companion app you run on your smartphone. Have you not used Fitbit, Pebble, Misfit, Apple Watch, etc? This stuff is not new.
  • If it's too interested though... People might think you need an Xbox, like with Xbox music and video... I agree social is important, but do you brand it Xbox or just say it's compatible with Xbox social... MS always has interesting dilemmas.
  • Just like the Cortana stuff, you mention it as a feature. They can do targeted advertising.
  • >>"Fitness achievements" Would be nice, but unfortunately it is to easy to cheat here. I found in theatre that in counts claps as steps and sometimes it even counts steps when you are in subway or in bus on bad road :(
  • When I had a FitBit, it counted steps while I was keyboarding and when I just shock my hands for a bit. The Band didn't. Any of these step tracking wearables will have phantom step counts - some more than others. As a comparison, my relative who used some kind of step counter app on his Android phone counted something like 18k steps after he went for a hike for what amounted to something like 6mi. That same day, I went for a run clocking in around 12k steps (wish I had my phone with me today, because I did a screenshot) for the same 6mi as counted by the Band AND my Nike GPS watch. So, Band is pretty accurate.
  • I'm sure Microsoft is planning a Cortana app for Apple Watch.
  • Adding Cortana access from the Microsoft Band on Android and iOS would be a good start.
  • Please let this be true.
  • Reason 4: It could be used like a controller with the Xbox, better tracking of movements and adding info from sensors to workouts in the Xbox.
  • Exactly, like we already have it on our phones.. But on the wrist too? Lol
  • If you can think of scenarios where a wearable accessory couldn't be used with an Xbox One, then, I mean, you really need to think outside of the box.
  • Outside the Xbox... right? Right? Ok, I'll leave.
  • I don't know many console gamers who get off their butts long enough to do something like "exercise."  There is another category of Xbox user that's been around since the 360 and they would fit right in with the Band. Look up the fitness app.  We do use it and we do use Kinect with it.  The Band would be a welcome addition.
  • It probably confuses you because you can't merge two independent categories into one stream like your assertion below that tech companies can't get into the health business. Gamers aren't the only ones who buy Xboxes. You know how many games I've played on my Xbox? Two. Every night, it's driving my TV. Every morning, I go through the P90X program in the fitness app. Ask WMC users what their 360's do the most.  It drives their TV watching. Gaming is its least used function in my house. Seriously, are you still trying to wrap your brain around the fact Apple, a computer company, got into music and telephones?  How about Toshiba? An electronics company that does medical, nuclear reactors, and now a leader in indoor hydroponics systems?  
  • Console gamers have thoroughly rejected unconventional accessories over and over again.
    This is not the same thing.  Nobody is suggesting making a Band that only works on the XBox.  They are suggesting making a band that ALSO works on the XBox, along with all the other platforms it currently works on.    It doesn't need critial mass console gamer approval to be effective.  
  • Yeah, all those Wii accessories failed too. (sarcasm)
  • wpkevin, you're thinking about this from a gamer's perspective, but that would not be the target (I'm a gamer, but also use a FitBit -- our company gives us financial credit for steps taken as part of keeping us healthy and productive). Wearables for fitness with social metrics for competing with friends is an existing market unto itself. At the same time Microsoft has the best (or at least one of the best) existing achievement and competitive systems through X-Box. Surely, there is a way to harness that existing capability and make the case to the market of people who are interested in social and competitive aspects of fitness wearables that the Microsoft Band is at least a contender in this area. Right now, it's not. That's a huge wasted and missed opportunity. In other words, Daniel is exactly, 100% correct.
  • Really? so if they sold xbox with kinect as the same price as without then is it rejected? It was as much a price issue to competing platforms and its value added perception that was the driver of this sentiment. Most people who have it like it. I think iphones are way overpriced but am I saying they are bad or rejected by 85% of SP users?  
  • It can give you Xbox Notifications.Like Read messages and send voice,text messages.
  • At BUILD Microsoft talked about APIs that allow you to use the Band as a game controller, they had a little demo game that moved when you moved your arms. Think arms out out like your flying, to fly a plane in a game. However, I don't think the demo was practical, it does show that the API's are there in Windows 10 for real time communication between the systems.
  • Pong
  • The MS health app could have acheivements, you could reply to messages from friends, or read them, accept or reject reiend requests. Looks like your 'Nothing' is really something isn't it.
  • Xbox fitness.  Take a look at it. I'd buy this band today if there were an app on the Xbox you could snap that relayed all the sensor data, particularly heartbeat to the snap in.
  • I would love achievements. Studies have shown that when you tack on achievements/rewards to daily life activities, people tend to complete them with more success. Achievement to run 1 mile, then 5, then 10? There will be those who will strive toward the goal. Achievement to wake up early and go for a jog. They have these in video games and people spend countless hours trying to climb the tallest tower (borderlands) or kill two people while jumping in mid-air (COD)
  • You do not want it so nobody should have it? All the tiles are options that are turned on and off on the phone. If you don't want it then don't add it - that simple. But if we had your way, then those who would want to see when others get an achievement, when others are online and ready to play, etc. wouldn't have the ability to because you don't see the point of it. You also don't see the point of integrating all MS products. And yet, people whine and complain because MS products are not as integrated as their competitors. But when there is the opportunity there to do so, then people whine and complain that they may be integrated.
  • Leaderboards and achievements for steps, calorie goal etc
  • Waterproof is all i ask
  • That + Thinner (it's hard to to use with some clothing) and a scratch resistant screen (from normal use, my screen looks like I've grabbed a set of keys and tried to engrave everyone's name on it.) And I just rest my wrists when typing.  Yet my L1020, has fallen fat face on Asphalt and gravel and looks as if I've just bought it. 
  • The first thing I did was put a screen protector on my Band. The screen protector as taken a beating but my band looks great.
  • Waterproof, yes! If I want a fitness tracker I want it to track everything I do including my swimming.
  • Waterproof, please!!!  I am Korean but I will not ask for Korean language support. Just waterproof plesae!!!!
  • As a developer, I am planning to integrate all of my applications into the Band to put it to use on your wrist. (Examples: Tuning your guitar or bass, metronome speeds, tablature, or looking at concerts in your area)
  • Does this mean that you believe a health "band" it is proper direction to continue in to give it a chance? Or do you think that even health fanatics will tire of this? This could be like every other piece of exercise equipment. They keep selling, marketers continue to make money, but they collect dust after purchase.
  • I disagree, it may always be a niche product but that is hardly reason to stop development. We have no idea how much development costs to assume that it is a waste. We also have no idea how much they make off of the product and what their long term vision is. Researchers are always working with experts in different fields, thats how things progress faster. If companies didnt collaborate, or spread out to new things much of modern life would be impossible. Collaboration is a powerful tool that only fools ignore.
  • "Tech companies don't know enough about health to make health bands." Because companies worth $400 billion couldn't possibly hire a doctor or an army of physcial specialists for consultation. Have you even walked into a hospital in the last forty years?  Look around, it's tech everywhere.
  • Oh really? Panasonic has been making medical equipment for decades. Sony makes one of the best VR headsets used in medical along with surgical cameras they've made for years. Microsoft? Look up Microsoft Almaga. General Electric, in the business for decades. Toshiba, ditto.      
  • Oh, so a company can buy or hire health professionals, add them to the payroll and have a working health department that shut people like you up.   Who'd have thought?  Oh yea, I did, in the initial response.
  • If you have seen any of Microsoft's research videos, they do seem to be activity developing health care related products.  Which I can understand.  The health care industry is huge and worth billions of dollars of sales.    
  • Agree on the main point. It should not become a smart watch and focus on the health stuff with some alerts. In this light the 'band' shape is perfect as this shape does not try to be a watch and is elegant. A watch would have been nerdy, the band with this shape clearly has a different reason to be on the wrist, and is comfortable. My stance would be to refine the present functions. A bit more vibrating alerts would be fine to have, but not to take action on the band, just to have a glance at the reason of the alert. I have deleted my Runtastic account as it is great to have all the health stuff in one location, and running with the band is way better than with the phone. Its good enough to see the run afterwards on a map, not needed during the run and just taking the band is easier running anyway. YAY for Amazon shipping all over Europe to get it.
  • Yeah, not a fad and I don't believe many people are buying smart watches for "street cred". You're not into a Smart Watch because you haven't found your personal use case for one. If you were to walk around with one for a couple weeks and actually use it, I guarantee you'd change your tune. Here's the thing, the cell phone has essentially replaced wrist watches for a lot of people. Nowadays, you see people pull out their phone just to see what time it is. It's kind of silly that it is pretty much a pocketwatch of yesteryears. Got a text, pull out the phone. Email alert, pull out the phone. Phone ringing, pull out the phone to check the caller ID and decide if you should take the call right now, or maybe silence it, or maybe ignore it and send a quick text reply that you're in a meeting and will call back in 15min. Scheduled appointment alarm went off, pull out the phone. How much have you walked today so far, pull out the phone. Need to set a 30min timer for that parking meter, pull out the phone. Need to schedule an appointment before you forget, pull out the phone. Now, if you had a SmartWatch, you'd pull out the phone far less often for little things. The ability to read an incoming text itself is a huge deal for me. For my wife and pretty much all women, the phone in the purse means they will not hear your call or text, however when that alert vibrates on their wearable they'll get it. Anyways, I suggest you give it a try. You're just ignorant about its use, and I don't mean that as an insult, really.
  • I don't think you know what street cred means. It doesn't mean bragging, enlightenment or those who do not are peasants. No one is looking for acceptance when wearing one of these - maybe the Apple Watch guys, but having a Band is not about being cool. I gave you real world uses where your smartphone is used for more than Facebook/Instagram/Twitter - not everyone is still in high school. Tell me you don't actually send text messages on it, really. Or, how you don't use the scheduler. It's about convenience, but you're not there yet. You believe it's a fad, but given time, you'll change your mind. I'm not here to change your mind, so keep that phone in hand or in your pocket for the next FB notification, the next Instaphoto of your lunch, and the next tweet about nothing. The point is, you're using your phone they way you're using it which will be unique to you. I've just given examples of where it can help a user and if you're so narrow minded to see that, then there's no point in having a discussion. Or you're just trolling and I fed you. MSN Messenger watch, haha. Bring up 10yr old tech without the infrastructure today or the costs involved. That was a dumb example.
  • wpkeven is, as usual, just provoking for responses. Thing is, he often has some valid points, but they are all too sadly drowned in bullshit and hyperbola.
  • I don't remember wpkeven saying anything about smooth geometric curves. The bullshit I saw though.
  • For the price it is the next one should have lte(similar to gear s)
  • How about Xbox Fitness integration?
  • I have limited knowledge of SIM tech but I really would like some sort of temporary SIM info handoff to wearables that gives the wearable the ability to recieve text msgs for the duration of my run/bike- an old school pager function.  Ultimately I really would like the Band to house the SIM but take calls and every "smart" funtions from whatever device i have it bridged with.  For example, If I have a mobile device with me, it would be the device to use for phone/vid calls or app use, or internet browsing.  If I'm near the xbox, surface, desktop, and phone...then have option to take calls from which ever device is best for that communication/transaction to take place.  The Band should be simple to be smart - SIM, sensors, battery.  The Band will rule them all!
  • I like it! Seems like a great idea if the tech gets small enough. All the more reason why I believe the band 2 will be Win10 but the IoT flavor.
  • We will probably see something like Band/Fitbit Surge hybrid realistically.  The sensors will be tweaked but comfort and battery will definately be addressed.  I dont mind the display to be e-ink or whatever the Surge display is.  The Band works hard enough, it doesnt need to try too hard the way Apple Watch is.  I think connected to wearable app is smarter than wearable app.
  • Hell yes to Xbox integration.
  • I've been dying to buy a Band, but already figured a Band 2 is coming so I've been holding off (unless I can get one super cheap). Uggg...
  • Why doesn't the app store have a category for band apps?
  • I think the biggest question about the band is, will they actually promote it in the states? and will they ACTUALLY RELEASE IT GLOBALLY? This is the zune all over again, small scale American only release, how'd that do, i remember having to drive down to Bellingham, to pick up a Zune 80 as they only launched it Canada a year late and then discontinued the Canadian supply channels within 6 months. If they dont market it to the world, this is forever a niche within the niche that is smartwatches.
  • Exactly. Many in the US don't realise how non-existent the Zune was Worldwide. The same thing with Band... I will buy one if they just release the damn thing
  • The Zune had a small avability period in Canada and the UK I think that's all iirc. In Canada as i said its availability lasted like 6months only the Zune 80 and 120 we got. Even when I go to the states no one knew what a Zune was at best buy
  • Yes! Something I can waste my money on And feel good about!
  • True
  • Yup, I'm waiting.
  • Announcing it earlier doesn't always really work. The rivals will prepare a counter attack for that
  • If everyone though is iterating on a yearly basis, not sure it really matters. Practically all of these 'heart rate' monitors are all using the same outsourced technology anyway. Microsoft has one big leverage point that no one can really attack or counter attack on: Windows 10 and everything it entails, including Xbox One, PC, mobile.
  • On the hem hardware there are two big manufacturers. Mio and Valencell. I believe the Band is using Valencell. I wish they would use mio as it is much more accurate. Alsomthey should borrow the rubber surround idea from the Garmin 225.
  • That leaves me questioning how feasible it may be to have Windows 10 IoT Core running on the band 2? I looked into that and the "Athens" SKU of their WIndows 10 IoT seems to fit the needs of a device such as the Band. But then I read about .Net Micro Framework and that also is designed for wearable's and smaller sensors. Do you know if the Band 1 is running Windows Embedded Compact or Net Micro Framework?
  • They announced?
  • Nobody announced. Read the article please. :3
  • I'm throwing my money at my screen, but I still can't get the first one in Canada.
  • Right? I am hoping the next one is going to be available in more than just two countries. I am also hoping it is less "handcuff" and more "watch"
  • I was going to Murica in a couple weeks to try them on a MS store to see which one fits best.   Now this!  I might just have wait now. :-\
  • I know!!!   They're talking about releasing version 2 and I've still never even seen a version 1.  Does it even really exist? Or is this just a massive social experiment that looks at how people react when they can't have what they want?
  • The Band has a lot of potential. It can only get better from here. Also would want it to be more comfortable to wear.
  • Bingo! A thinner band would be awesome!
  • Thinner would help, but one that is more fitted to the wrist. They tried to pack all the electronics into a narrow form-factor and it ended up long and flat. They could make it wider (think Surge or Garmin) and still have plenty of room.
  • Yes more form fitting band too. I'd also like the screen to be rotated but I do kind of like the inner wrist aspect
  • Nooooooo.
    I already had to drive to the US to get my band this month, but this is the risk I was willing to take. Now I only need to milk my band as much as I can and reap all its benefits before jumping on the next one.
  • Hope you bought the extended warranty. It may come in handy when the 2 comes out.
  • Microsoft band is the most useful wearable gadget
  • Bait
  • They didn't produce a ton, yet it was on backorder for months. Useless comment.
  • So, you mean if MS Band sold a bunch, but Apple sold a ton, then MS will just abandon the Band? Dude, the Band sold enough to deplete their inventory. That usually means it sold well. That addresses the first part of your original comment. To address the second part, Apple WILL sell tons, but that doesn't mean that MS will abandon the watch/band. If that were the case, Windows Phone should have already been abandoned. Still useless comment.
  • Curved screen with gorilla glass and waterproofing. That's all I think it needs before I import one. I like the idea of the band OS being simple. If it can be the best fitness tracker and a good cell phone companion it would be perfect Imo.
  • And make it thinner. Thinner with curved screen and waterproof would answer most of my complaints.
  • A lot of that thickness is the battery space, thinner means less battery time (I.e. Apple watch)
  • If they made it wider, it wouldn't have to be so "flat and long". It could reduce the length and be more comfortable on the wrist. The fit is my biggest peeve about it.
  • Relocate that heartrate sensor to the outside as well.
  • I think that they can make the battery as an annular extension to the band (I.e. It adds to the width of the band rather than thickness). It would be very cool if you could hot swap/ extend it by adding an additional battery ring.
  • Agreed. It does more than any other wearable right now. If they can make it a little smaller, or curved a bit, them my wife would love it! In sure other women would agree that it looked a little funny on their smaller wrists.
  • ^Do all of that, and I'm sold
  • I would hope they could figure out a better material for the metal areas since the corrosion has made charging difficult
  • Waterproof, please!!!  I am Korean but I will not ask for Korean language support. Just waterproof plesae!!!!
  • Canadian Availability, i'd buy one now if i could get it here...
  • Rather than making it a fashion accessory make it complement your existing devices...Tight integration with all devices now that Cortana is going cross platform...give a little larger display with the existing sensors and a bigger battery if possible...primarily a health accessory with some functionality of a smartwatch using Cortana...better open up the platform to the developers and let them and the users eventually figure out what they gonna use it for...for all these it has to run Windows 10...maybe the lightweight IOT version
  • I'd settle for just using the existing sensors. Things like skin temp and response haven't been addressed yet (except by 3rd party)
  • I think that was part of the testing, what do you want apps to do with that data, or are those sensors unnecessary in gen2
  • Very much interested in a Microsoft Luxury SmartWatch with at least 48Hrs battery life.
  • It needs to have more smartwatch capabilities and also, tune up the health side (which is already good); a slimmer design (but that should be a lot more complex), and, just for fun, Windows 10 (at least some core elements and stuff), that would be interesting and for connectivity, it would be easier to use the Band with Phone, PC, etc.
  • They need to put Voice,
  • And a bigger screen
  • What do you mean "voice"? It already has a microphone for Cortana integration. You want a speaker in a wearable? That cannot possibly sound good with today's tecnnology.
  • Windows 10 on Band? That'd be cool. Hope they launch in other countries too like India & Brazil etc. rather than US and UK only.
  • Yeah...please say that they will launch it in other countries and i'll start saving from this very moment :O
  • No just keep it a companion with the smallest foot print allowing for health and alerts, see above. besides the phone, maybe its a good idea to allow connections to all BT devices one can have, prioritised to phone if available. The sync from phone to web is pretty much live.
  • One Microsoft/One Windows
  • Maybe I'll buy a Band 2.
  • I don't know if I'm being naïve here, but will the band 2 have to stick to this shape? (long, thin rectangle) because apps and such will be optimised for this shape, but it is a shape wh