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Microsoft unveils Apple Watch rival that works with iOS, Android

Microsoft is releasing a $199 fitness band that also checks your e mail and even pays for coffee as the computer software firm seeks to challenge Apple and other people in the nevertheless-infant market place for wearable devices.

The Microsoft Band will perform with the company’s new Microsoft Health technique for consolidating overall health and fitness data from many gadgets and mobile apps. In contrast to rival wellness systems, Microsoft Well being will work with competing phones, not just these operating Windows.

The release of the Microsoft Band comes months ahead of the a lot-anticipated debut of Apple Watch. Microsoft’s gadget, nonetheless, seems extra focused on fitness tracking and is not meant to be an all-objective smartwatch.

The Band will give previews of incoming emails and alerts on calendar events, along with weather and other data requested via the company’s Cortana virtual assistant. Cortana calls for a Windows phone nearby, but other options operate with iPhones and Android phones, as well.

The Band will also have 10 tracking sensors, far more than the typical fitness gadget, to monitor such things as heart price, UV light, sleep and distance traveled. In a partnership with Starbucks, the Band will be able to build barcodes to make retail purchases via stored present cards.

The Band will serve as a showcase for Microsoft Well being, which follows the launch of Apple’s HealthKit in September and Google Fit earlier this week.

As much more athletes and recreationists monitor and record their fitness activities, a chief frustration has been the inability to bring information from a single gadget into an app made by a rival. As a result, nutrition details may well reside in one particular place, even though information on calories burned may possibly be in a further. Consolidating data — with users’ permission — gives people and overall health specialists a broader image on wellness.

For instance, Microsoft says possessing information in a single spot could help gauge regardless of whether eating breakfast improves running or regardless of whether the quantity of meetings for the duration of the day impacts sleep quality.

Microsoft Well being marks the company’s most recent push into mobile and World wide web-primarily based services as demand for its standard software merchandise declines. It’s particularly notable in embracing devices running Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android systems. In the past, Microsoft has been slow in making its services available for non-Windows systems.

“This is yet another example of the extra agnostic method to platforms becoming embraced under the leadership of Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella,” said Ben Wood, chief of investigation at CCS Insight. “Two years ago, supporting iOS and Android at launch would have been unthinkable.”

Nonetheless, the introduction of a third fitness method — with a fourth one particular possibly coming from Samsung — could make confusion among buyers. As an alternative of obtaining to go to 12 distinct apps for their information, they still may well want to pay a visit to 3 or four.

Microsoft mentioned its Health technique will operate initially or soon with Jawbone’s Up, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper — in addition to its own Band device. Gold’s Health club will also present exercise plans for the Band.

Microsoft is selling the Band via its physical and on the net retailers.

Separately, Samsung stated its most recent smartwatch, the Gear S, will be obtainable in the U.S. on Friday. Unlike most other smartwatches, the Gear S will have its own cellular connection so that it can do far more without the need of a telephone nearby. Carriers are charging about $300 to $385 for the device and generally $5 or $ten a month for service.


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