Microsoft has brought some Fitbit-like social features to its Band fitness tracker, pitting friends against each other as a means of keeping users motivated. The new features, outlined on Thursday, bring a system that has proved popular on the Fitbit over to Microsoft’s wearable, a device that at launch received mixed reviews for its unclear purpose and mediocre fitness tracking.
The updates to the Microsoft Band mean users can now share achievements via Facebook by connecting their Microsoft Health account. Other Facebook friends who have also connected their health account will also show up in the app, creating leaderboards of stats like calories burned or longest run. The company says the new social features will roll out gradually over the coming week.
The new features are similar to the ones Fitbit offers with its range of wearable fitness trackers. In Fitbit’s system, users can share their progress and compete against each other in groups via Fitbit.com. Users do not have to be friends with each other to be in the same group: There’s even a Fitbit group for Reddit users, where strangers can compete against each other in a large-scale fitness group.
The two systems are not compatible with each other, however. Microsoft’s new social features depend on friends all using and working out with the Microsoft Band.
Microsoft unveiled a second version of its Band in October. The Microsoft Band 2 is priced at $249, but the company is currently running a promotional offer with $75 off the Band 2 from participating retailers.