Microsoft has just updated its Band wearable with a new tile and an onscreen keyboard. The update is accompanied by a new Health website that will provide a dashboard for viewing the data collected by Band. For developers, there is also a preview of the upcoming SDK.
At present, you can see data that includes pace, distance and elevation. According to Microsoft, Band integrates this data with MapMyFitness, so it probably won't be too long until other fitness tracking services and apps follow suit. The band already tracks sleep, heart rate and calories.
Cycling, running, messaging
Cyclists are also supported by the new update, with new bike-centric custom workouts downloadable (previously the workouts were just for other exercises).
What makes the band attractive is its cross-platform capabilities – it works with Android and iOS, not just Windows Phone – though it does have one little Windows-only feature: being able to reply to messages with spoken replies, since the technology relies on Cortana. There is now a tiny virtual keyboard that allows for typed responses to messages, so there's no need to fret if you're not a Windows Phone user.
The newly released SDK preview will enable developers to create their own apps for the platform. With Microsoft looking at monthly updates for the band, other smartband manufacturers might have to start taking notice.