Microsoft’s quirky amalgamation of fitness tracker and smartwatch, the simply named Band, is about to get more powerful; the company is launching a series of updates for the tracker, as well as introducing an SDK for developers.
Users on a desktop can now check their fitness information more easily with a new Web dashboard for Microsoft Health, which expands on the features available on the mobile Health app. You can now see extended data views and more detailed charts on your health stats.
The Band itself is getting more powerful with a dedicated Bike Tile, which works for both real and stationary bicycles. The app features a heart rate monitor (optimized for biking), elevation tracking and GPS mapping to help measure your burned calories. It can also track your current and average speeds, and even estimate how long it will take you to recover from your rides.
Band’s guided workout tool has also been updated with five new indoor biking workouts. Of course, your bike stats are supported by the new Web dashboard, and Band is adding support for two fitness apps: MapMyFitness and Microsoft Health Vault.
There are a couple of nifty upgrades to Band’s OS. You can now activate a “Quick Read” function to display notifications in a large font size in rapid succession to read messages while moving without having to manually scroll. Band owners on Windows Phone 8.1 can also now use a virtual keyboard or voice recognition to compose replies.
The other big news is the launch of the Band SDK. The developer kit will allow coders to begin creating their own apps for the tracker or better integrate existing apps. Interested developers can find out more at Microsoft’s developer page for Band.