Microsoft Band Gets A Rare Update to Fix Sync Issues

Microsoft Band for Android

The Microsoft Band app, the Android app which supports the company’s now defunct fitness tracker, has received a surprise update today that owners of the Band 2 will certainly appreciate.

Sync problems have plagued the Band 2 for a couple of months now and while Microsoft did say they found the source of the issue early on, it has taken them a long time to address it both in the Android app and in their Windows 10 app.  The new update for Android is build 2.3.31002.0 for those keeping score at home and it is rolling out to the Play Store now.

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The Best Windows Experience on Microsoft Hardware – Why It Should Happen

Microsoft Icon

I will preface this post with a disclaimer to start in an effort to ward off the flaming emails.  The purpose of this post is not to suggest that Microsoft should get rid of their current ecosystem of partners.  It is too fast and far to important to the company and the success of their solutions.  All you have to do is look at the all new Dell XPS 13 laptop and read the raving reviews it is getting to understand just how important OEMs are in the mix for Microsoft.

But equally, you can look at the Microsoft built and branded devices and see where the company could and should be more actively involved in hardware manufacturing.  I’m not talking about mice and keyboards (although they do a pretty good job at that too) but rather things like the Microsoft Lumia lineup and the Surface Pro 3.  Arguably the best Windows experience for their form factor are on these devices because Microsoft has intimately been involved in the hardware design of them to get the most out of the Operating System.  Even with the Microsoft Band, a device that is near impossible to get because they can’t keep them in stock, produces a great experience for users.  And while user experience is important, there is also the matter of controlling their own destiny when it comes to updates and improvements along with security.  All of these are why I think Microsoft should look long and hard at the PC and Laptop market for their own branded devices.

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Is Microsoft Band the Device AppleWatch Should Fear?

Microsoft Band Icon

Microsoft has had a huge couple of weeks.  The updates have been broad, impacting a whole lineup of products and solutions from the company.  One of those announcements was Microsoft Band, the lifestyle and fitness wearable that has a huge number of sensors and Cortana.  The device went on sale yesterday and it has pretty much sold out of your local Microsoft store and for sure online.

The Microsoft Band, while innovative in design, fundamentally isn’t bringing anything terribly new to the wearable market, especially the fitness market.  Fitbit has somewhat been the standard when it comes to fitness wearables but Jawbone’s Up has also been there as has Nike’s Fuel Band.  But really, when you do a stare-and-compare, you think Fitbit.

When it comes to Smartwatches however, the game is pretty much wide open.  Apple is introduced the AppleWatch two months ago and it was immediately compared to the Fitbit line up and every Smartwatch that any Android based manufacture had ever produced.  What you get past the distortion field however and really look at the AppleWatch, it has some serious flaws.  Like deal breaker flaws.  I’m going to look at three of them:  Cross-platform support, price of entry and ease-of use.

What I’m not going to do is compare the Microsoft Band to anything from Fitbit.  Frankly, there are a lot of people who only want a step tracker or calorie tracker.  They produce some fantastic solutions that, while certainly more limited when compared to the Band, do a great job.  I’m on my 2nd Fitbit in 5 years (they take a beating and keep on keeping on) and it is the only wearable I’ve ever used or considered until the Band was released a couple of days ago.  I think the only way you can do a proper comparison of a Fitbit product to the Band is if you compare the upcoming Surge.  But if you need integration to your Windows Phone and other apps, I think the Microsoft Band will be better.

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Background on The New Microsoft Health

Microsoft Health Icon

On the official Microsoft blog, Vice President Todd Holmdahl has posted a lengthy piece explaining the new Microsoft Band and accompanying Microsoft Health app.  In the post, he outlines how Microsoft is leveraging data coming from the device and getting that into the Cloud to manage it and provide it to consumers through the Microsoft Health App for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

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Microsoft Band Video Posted

Yesterday Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Band, a lifestyle and fitness tracker that brings the company into the wearables market full-tilt.  The $199 unit not only measures your activity but includes 10 sensors that measure things like heart rate, sleep, stress levels and integrates with Cortana on your Windows Phone.  Initially available only in the United States, the Band on the surface looks pretty interesting and is at a great price point when you compare other devices on the market.

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