Microsoft has announced a slew of updates today for the Band and their Health apps. These updates focus on expanding the feature set of both products and will start rolling out as early as tomorrow.
In February, Microsoft updated the Band to support biking and now they are teaming up with MapMyRide and Strava to make the fitness peripheral work with these apps too. Starting on the 23rd, you will be able to wear the device during your bike rides and compare performance data or share routes with other riders using these apps.
The bigger update is coming to Health and the web dashboard. The company is adding a bunch of new features that will make it easier to compare your stats and gain new insights. All of the new features are listed below:
- Comparative Insights: Measures data like daily steps, sleep, workout frequency and calorie burn and compares it to similar Microsoft Health customers based on body type (height and weight). Customers looking for motivation can use comparative insights as a benchmark to understand their health relative to similar people.
- Sleep Recovery: Good sleep is the foundation of health, and something everybody does and needs. Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of sleep. Use the Microsoft Health web dashboard to analyze sleep restoration, sleep efficiency, and wake-ups, to find out how well the body restores its resources during sleep
- Fitness Benefit: Track fitness progress using historical data to measure improvement over time.
- VO2 Max: VO2 max refers to the maximum volume of oxygen used during exercise, and is the primary indicator of cardiovascular fitness. Traditionally, measuring V02 Max is cumbersome. Not anymore. Microsoft Band estimates VO2 max based on heart rate information. Now customers can track how their VO2 max increases as they improve fitness level and achieve their wellness goals, simply.
Microsoft is also updating its Health app too. If your phone has the ability to monitor steps, an update to the Health app will let that app record your activity even if you are not wearing your Band; Microsoft has not announced when this update will be pushed out though.
All of these improvements, when combined, represent a large update for the health ecosystem that Microsoft is slowly building out. While there was a significant lull in updates after the Band launched, the past few months have shown the company is serious about these products with a couple of updates being released close together.