Microsoft entered the wearable technology market Wednesday with the launch of a new device called “Microsoft Band,” which will help users track their fitness and exercise regime. The company also introduced “Microsoft Health,” a cloud-based service that can compile data gathered from the company’s new fitness band as well as other rival devices.
According to the company, the Microsoft Band has 10 sensors -- including a UV sensor for sun exposure -- to allow users to monitor their heart rate, measure calorie burn and track sleep quality throughout the day. The band will also keep users connected with various notifications, including incoming calls, emails, text messages and social media updates.
The Microsoft Band has a 1.4-inch TFT full color display with a resolution of 320x106 pixels. The device, with dual 100mAh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer batteries, also supports Bluetooth connectivity and works with different devices, such as iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Android 4.3 or 4.4-powered phones. The device, which is similar to Samsung’s Gear Fit, can last 48 hours on a single charge, Re/Code reported.
Microsoft also introduced a cloud-based fitness tracking service called “Microsoft Heath,” which can store and combine users’ health and fitness data. The service will be available to users via an app that will be launched on Android and iOS devices as well as the Windows Phone.
Microsoft Health can also measure users’ work-life balance and can, for example, tell users how long meetings during the day might have affected their sleep quality at night. The service will also have access to users’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Microsoft said that the Band will be available in the U.S. for $199 in limited quantities at the company’s physical and online stores starting Thursday.