Microsoft Band now selling at Best Buy, Target & Amazon in US; UK expansion & pre-orders announced

MSBand_Group_Bike_Mapping_RGB-640x357Up until now Microsoft Band was only available at Microsoft’s retail locations. Since the smart fitness tracker launched in November, its supply has been extremely limited with many Microsoft stores quickly running out of stock as soon as new shipments arrived, especially in the more-popular sizes.

Now it appears that Microsoft is ready to mass-produce the popular gadget as the company has just announced that as of today the Band will be sold at Best Buy, Target and Amazon in the U.S. The Microsoft Store (brick and mortar locations as well as microsoftstore.com) will, as of today, start receiving much larger and more frequent shipments of the wearable units. The price of the Band will remain at $199 for now.

Additionally, Microsoft Band is for the first time since launch becoming available for sale outside of the U.S. borders. As of today, it is available for pre-order in the U.K. through Amazon, Curry’s PC World, Dixons Travel, Harrods, and O2. The wearable will cost £169.99 (ERP) and the device will ship on April 15th.

Entrance into the U.K. market marks the beginning of what Microsoft expects to be the first of many non-U.S. markets to get the Band.

“We are excited to expand to an additional market, and to incorporate the feedback of more customers into our future product and service updates.” – Microsoft Corporate Blogs

This is truly exciting news for many who have wanted to get their hands on the fitness tracker but couldn’t because of supply issues in the U.S. or because of the lack of availability outside of U.S. Microsoft is positioning itself well just in time to compete with Apple in the wearable tech space.

Source: Microsoft Blog

Microsoft Band available for pre-order to those who signed up for e-mail notification

microsoft-band-sold-outMicrosoft Band was never released to the masses like most other Microsoft products. For one reason or another, the Redmond software giant decided to use the Band as sort of a “live beta test” for its machine learning business. The Band was available in super-limited quantities online and in Microsoft’s physical stores as the company likely wanted to quietly introduce the fitness wearable before committing to a large-scale release that can actually compete with market leaders such as FitBit.

The one thing Microsoft could not anticipate was how popular the Band would get in such short time-frame and it caused the device to sell out within hours of its release in the fall of 2014.

Well, now it appears that Microsoft is getting ready to ship more Bands as the company is starting to take pre-orders online, and those who signed up for the e-mail notification “when product is back in stock” will be the first in line.

Microsoft is currently sending e-mails to all who signed up to get notified when Microsoft Band is back in stock, and in this e-mail there will be a special link where you can place the order. Make sure to check your e-mail and your Junk folder in case it ended up there.

The catch – you can only order one Band (there is a quantity limit in place) and the wearable device is still only available to folks in the U.S. The shipment date is currently set to March 17 and the price is still $199.

Please note Microsoft has now taken the “Notify me” link off the Band order page that is available to the general public.

We expect this to be the first of many product re-stocks and hope the Band will be available in more markets as the demand for it is strong world-wide.

[Video] Microsoft Band virtual keyboard full review – it works surprisingly really well

Microsoft has just pushed out the first major update for the Band since its launch in October, and one of the cool new features is the availability of a virtual keyboard. But how well does it actually work on such a tiny screen? Surprisingly, really well. We have to say that Microsoft did the best implementation possible on the screen real estate available.

The way to start a text is to tap on the messaging tile and reply to one of the previous messages you’ve received, or you can just reply to a text when one comes in. Scroll upwards on the screen and you’ll see a reply icon. Once you tap that icon, from there you can select the keyboard option, voice to text with Cortana, or choose a response from the list of the pre-selected replies.

Once you select the keyboard, you’ll notice it’ll take up the entire screen. But don’t worry, you can always scroll over to the right to see what you actually wrote.  You’ll notice there’s a space button in the owner corner and a period on the top left.

This keyboard uses Microsoft’s Word Flow technology which does a fantastic job in predicting commonly used words  so you don’t have to be entirely accurate while typing and the end-result is very good, actually.  Missing the letters completely while typing often results in what you were trying to achieve as the prediction engine is pretty well optimized in this situation, and it does a really good job of figuring out what you’re trying to type.

WP_20150223_23_27_13_ProTo add punctuation or numbers, just scroll to the left while using the keyboard and you’ll see an option to add numbers or punctuations. Yep, for such a tiny thing it certainly has all the keyboard essentials.

In the middle of your message or after you’ve finished, you can scroll over to the right to check if you’re satisfied with the result, and then scroll back to continue typing. If not, you can tap a word you’re not happy with and just above it you’ll see a few suggestions to select from. There’s also an X beside the word in case you choose to delete it completely and a plus sign to add more text before the word selected. Once you’ve finished, you would press the action button to send it off.

We’re very impressed with how Microsoft implemented these features considering how tiny the display is, and although it’s nice to have this ability, it’s hard to imagine situations where one would use this when your phone is always nearby. Either way, some people may find this useful, especially while exercising or while they’re away from their phones.

Microsoft Band to be back in stock at U.S. Microsoft retail stores this Saturday Jan.3

Microsoft-Band---official-images

For those of you looking to score a Microsoft Band you may be in luck this weekend.  According to Windows Central, US Microsoft retail stores are set for a resupply this Saturday January 3.

This applies to US retail stores only and Online Microsoft Stores will still be out of stock for the time being.  Windows Central provided a photo in which an email sent out to Microsoft Store staff says the following:

“Customers in our email database will receive an email announcing Microsoft Bans availability this Saturday January 3 to drive traffic to our stores.  To support the intended increase in traffic over the weekend stores will receive additional inventory of Microsoft Band Friday January 2”

So there you have it, if you live near a Microsoft Store and are looking for a Microsoft Band this may be your chance.

Source: Windows Central