Microsoft updates Band semi-smartwatch for fitness fanatics

Now with added barometer and a better battery

Microsoft Band

While Microsoft has been bigging up its Surface tablet/laptop rollout, Lumia phones, and HoloLens suite, there was still room for a few add-ons, notably its Band fitness tracker.

The Band 2.0 has been redesigned with a curvier screen to fit around the wrist more comfortably, and a repositioned battery. In version 1 the battery was built into the side straps, but now it's in the base buckle for better balance and has been enlarged to give 48 hours of life.

The new Band comes in three sizes and Microsoft says it has improved the software to allow better use of Cortana and more Windows 10 applications to be displayed on the smallish screen. You'll still need a Bluetooth smartphone nearby to feel the benefit, but Redmond has upped the Big Data capabilities of the wristband as well.

For example, an updated golfing profile app automatically generates reports into how your swing is looking, gives advice on posture, and warns users if they are getting too much UV light from long days on the green.

All of that data can, of course, be shared with your computer, so that users can track progress. It can also be shared in insufferably smug posts on social media so everyone can know how much exercise you're taking.

With the new build, Microsoft has also added a barometer to the band's suite of hardware sensors. This, it explained, would allow those in hillier climes to track altitude changes, but the sailor in this hack would also like to see the sensor doing some weather and wind prediction.

Windows 10 integration also adds in email alerts, calendar displays, and a host of other add-ons. At $249, the Band isn't cheap, but might be a suitable Christmas pressie for the smug git in your life. ®




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