Microsoft's new Band 2 went on sale last week in the United States, priced at $249.99, featuring a larger, curved display and a redesigned strap, among other improvements over its predecessor. Today, the company shared details of updates to its Band SDK, along with info on its release of the full version of 'Web Tiles' for both the new and old Bands.
In a post on the Visual Studio blog today, Microsoft's Maria Kang - Program Manager for Band and Health - said that the updated SDK is designed "to take advantage of new sensors and specs" in the Band 2, and includes these enhancements:
- Five new sensor-based subscriptions for Microsoft Band 2. In addition to nine sensor-based subscriptions exposed for both Microsoft Band and Microsoft Band 2, the updated SDK exposes five additional subscriptions that are only available for Microsoft Band 2: galvanic skin response (electrical conductivity of the skin in kohms), barometer, altimeter, RR interval (time between heart beat peaks), and ambient light.
- Creation of PDF 417 barcodes with alpha/numeric data on Microsoft Band 2. The previous SDK supported only 0-9 digits. The updated SDK extends support for more ASCII characters. For details, see the Microsoft Band SDK documentation.
- Increased the icon limits for tiles on Microsoft Band 2. The updated SDK increases the icon limit for tiles from 8 to 13 for only Microsoft Band 2.
The updated SDK is available to download via the developer site for the Microsoft Health platform, along with updated resources for the full release of Web Tiles.
The company launched a preview of Web Tiles earlier this year, making it easy to pull snippets of content from the web to display on the Band's compact screen. As Microsoft explains:
Developers have to write web tile code only once to support multiple mobile platforms (iOS, Android, and Windows) because the Microsoft Health app takes responsibility for doing the rest—installing the web tile to the Band, accessing web resources for content, extracting and formatting the content, and then delivering that content to the associated web tile on the Band.
With its full release of Web Tiles today, Microsoft says it's added stability and performance improvements compared with the preview version, as well as making a couple of additions:
- Creates simple conditions that trigger sending notification to web tiles. You can now make web tiles more informative for your users by sending notifications to the band whenever the web data meets predefined conditions. Want a weather web tile that notifies you when there’s a high chance of rain? You can create one now.
- Extracts data from a web service that requires basic HTTP authentication. Until now, web tiles supported only publicly available web content. With the new update, web tiles can now support authenticated resources, opening up the opportunity to make the web content more secure and personalized.
...and the good news for developers is that Web Tiles are supported - with exactly the same code - on both the first-gen Band and the Band 2.
Editor's note: The title of this article was changed after publication to reflect the fact that the updates to the SDK and its release are not new developments - despite the phrasing of today's blog.