Microsoft’s Time(piece) Has Come
“How do you like them apples, Apple?” The folks in Redmond have beaten Cupertino to the market with a smartwatch, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Read on to learn all about the Microsoft Band -- a watch, fitness monitor and wrist-wearable computer...
One Ring to Band Them...
Microsoft Band is now on sale for $199, a dramatic bargain compared to the $350 base price tag expected on the Apple Watch (which requires an iPhone 5 or iPhone 6). And this time, Microsoft is playing nice with the other kids. Apple aficionados can wear the Band, too, and so can Google groupies.
The Band is available in three versions compatible with Apple iOS, Android, or Windows Phone devices. If it wasn’t, the Band would be limited to the 4.3% of smartphone sales that Microsoft garnered in the third quarter of 2014, and that would be dumb. The Band’s appeal may be limited in other ways, though.
The first drawback is foreshadowed in the Band’s name. This thing looks like a convict’s electronic ankle monitor slimmed down for the wrist. Of course, so does the FitBit, Nike FuelBand and other wrist-wearables, but at least most come in colors other than black.
The second turn-off, for many obese and sedentary Americans, will be the Band’s many health and fitness monitoring functions. It counts your heartbeats, the calories you burn (but not those you eat), the number of steps you take, the hours you sleep deeply or lightly, and the number of times you wake up. Yes, that implies that you’re expected to wear the Band constantly, even to bed.
Oh, and it monitors UV intensity to help guard against skin cancer of the wrist. That'll be huge for guys who drive with one arm hanging out the window.
The Band can even track where you go through its built-in GPS, although I can’t find any indication that it does so. Still, that may give some people pause. But let's get real... My phone has GPS, and so does my car. There's E-Z Pass on the dashboard, satellite-powered eyes in the sky, and surveillance cameras pretty much everywhere. So if anyone wants to know where I am or where I've been, they can just ask the nice folks at Google, Verizon, Toyota, the Thruway Authority, or the NSA.
All Your Health Are Belong To Us
What may cause users to run away is the fact that the Band sends all the data it collects about you to Microsoft Health, a cloud-based service that shares its name with the data collection app on the Band. Third-party apps can connect to Microsoft Health, presumably to do you good. Apps that can already access Microsoft Health data include Gold’s Gym, Under Armour’s MapMyFitness, and MyFitnessPal.
But don't worry, nobody will EVER hack into Microsoft Health, and the nice folks in Redmond would NEVER use that treasure trove of data for marketing purposes. We’ll see how that goes. Perhaps they should offer optional tin-foil hats along with Band, so wearers can retain at least their inmost thoughts.
The Band’s screen is relatively long and narrow, and the display’s fonts are in the style of Windows Phone 8.1. A lot of horizontal swiping is involved in switching functions. The Band can relay short messages from the phone to which it is linked wirelessly, such as texts, Tweets, calendar events, and reminders, as well as driving directions, traffic alerts, stock prices and sports scores. Oh, and it even displays the time and date.
Surprisingly, the Band does not support replying to messages or answering voice calls. But you can at least look like Dick Tracy, raising the Band to your lips to record a voice memo to yourself, or ask the Band to create a reminder for you.
The Band can go two days without recharging, according to Microsoft. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has warned everyone that “you’ll end up charging (the Apple Watch) every day.” This downtime seems like an infinite leap backwards in chronometer technology; it only took a few moments to refill a water clock, back in the day.
Apple has Apple Pay for all your mobile payment needs, if you can find a merchant who accepts it. Microsoft Band can link to the Starbucks app, allowing you to pay for lattes with an insouciant flick of the wrist.
In a stunning coincidence that has no rational causal connection to the above, Microsoft’s stock declined 1.5% on Thursday, October 30, the day after the company announced the Band’s availability. Will you be joining the Band band, or biding your time while Watching the horizon for new developments?
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 31 Oct 2014
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
New Mobile Malware Threat
The Top Twenty
NEW: Amazon's Fire TV Stick
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Microsoft’s Time(piece) Has Come (Posted: 31 Oct 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved