Microsoft Band will start selling at 765 Best Buy stores starting this month (US-only)

Microsoft-Band---official-imagesMicrosoft Band is definitely a hot item, but its lack of availability outside of Microsoft stores in the US and limited supply have definitely hampered its growth.  It has been constantly sold out and very difficult to find at Microsoft stores as its re-stocked limited supply got sold out rather quickly.  In addition, the lack of online availability makes the situation even worse, and since November it wasn’t available for online pre-order.

Things seem to be changing as Microsoft has just recently made it available for anyone to pre-order the Microsoft Band through its online store.  This is a small step so far, but just recently, we found out that Microsoft will start selling the Band at 765 Best Buy stores in the US this month.

Best Buy stores will be featuring the Microsoft Band in their smart-watch display area, and will even include a live demo for people to interact with.

This is a significant step in bringing the Band out to a much larger audience, and although there is still no word of Microsoft planning on selling its wearable device outside of the US, it’s definitely a signal that Microsoft is ready to make its presence felt in the wearable space. We’re hoping that this is a sign towards a world-wide launch of the Microsoft Band but one step at a time, as even having it at Best Buy is significant with the way things were going.

With the Apple Watch set to be announced tomorrow and expected to be available for purchase in April, Microsoft is readying themselves as the space for wearables is set to heat up.

Microsoft Band ExplodedAlthough the Microsoft Band is a fantastic smart-watch, especially with the recent update which added a superb implementation of a keyboard, voice reply via Cortana and more importantly, the opening up of its APIs for developers, it is still at its heart a fitness band.

We’d like to think of it as of a hybrid device, just like the Surface Pro line.  However, in the fitness band category it’s definitely the top-of-the-line with an unprecedented amount of sensors, including GPS and continual heart rate monitoring and works with all three major smartphone platforms.

It costs $199 and plugs into Microsoft’s HealthVault which uses machine learning to provide helpful feedback to the information the Microsoft Band collects about your health.

The Apple watch on the other hand is primarily a smart-watch, and it will have health features as well, but not as robust due to the lesser amount of sensors available on the device. Apple’s push will be primarily geared towards the ability to use Apple Pay and even the rumored opening of car and hotel doors.  It will have a  wide array of customization options which will hit different price points and starts at $349.

Source: WindowsCentral

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.

Microsoft Band, Health get major updates including Bike Tile, Virtual Keyboard, Developer SDK Preview & more

microsoft-bandMicrosoft Band is a very useful health & fitness tracker but also a handy smart-watch that has a lot of potential. Although the device was launched late last year at a very small scale, Microsoft wanted to get a lot of user feedback and carefully examine user-data before they mass-produce the wearable tech. Presently, it’s only available in the U.S. but we expect to see Microsoft Band available in more countries in the near future.

It’s been well over three months since the Band hit the shelves (and also sold out within hours), and today Microsoft has released the first large update to the device as well as an update to the Microsoft Health app which now fully integrates with Microsoft HealthVault and MapMyFitness. It also gives users a much deeper insight into their health activities and workouts through Microsoft Health Web Dashboard.

“For the last three months, we’ve monitored feedback carefully from customers, partners and media. While the response has been overwhelmingly positive, we are continuing to listen to our customers and make improvements based on their feedback,” said Matt Barlow, General Manager of New Devices Marketing. “This feedback is at the heart of the decisions we make, and today we’re pleased to take our first steps in launching new features and functionality for Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health that address what we’re hearing.”

On the front-end, the update is mainly focused on enhancing the interaction and workout experience while the user is biking, through the new “Bike Tile” and guided bike workouts. Another feature included in the update is the “Virtual Keyboard” which lets users read and reply to text messages and e-mail straight from the Band by easily swiping the on-screen predictive keyboard. This is only available (at least for now) for those with the Windows Phone 8.1. Click here to watch our full video review of the Virtual Keyboard.

On the back-end, there is now a new ability to allow third party developers to tap into the Band’s vast array of workout APIs as Microsoft has announced the release of the Developer Preview SDK. According to a recent press release, “this will allow third party developers to start building innovative new apps and creative new experiences for Microsoft Band. Developers can learn more at http://developer.microsoftband.com

Here is the full list of features now available for the Microsoft Band & Microsoft Health:

Insights

  • Microsoft Health Web Dashboard: The Microsoft Health web dashboard provides users insights, unique to them. The more users use their Microsoft Band, the more valuable these insights will become. The web dashboard is accessible via any web browser, providing a powerful complement to the Microsoft Health mobile app, which helps users track progress to their fitness goals. Users can access their personal Microsoft Health web dashboard at: https://dashboard.microsofthealth.com.

Features

Bike Tile: The Bike Tile on users’ Microsoft Band lets them track their rides both indoors and outdoors, on the road or trail. Features include:

  • Heart Rate Monitor: When the Bike tile is active, the heart rate monitor is optimized specifically for biking activities.
  • Elevation Tracking: Track elevation and elevation gain, distance and duration and calorie burn– viewable in the Microsoft Health app.
  • GPS: Users can activate GPS on their Band to map their ride in the mobile app and share it with their friends via email.
  • Speed Analysis: Track your current and average speeds both on the band and in the mobile app, and review your custom splits to relive those longer bike rides.
  • Recovery: From the mobile app, users can see an estimate for how long it will take their body to recover from the ride.
  • Web Dashboard: Biking functionality is supported by the Microsoft Health mobile app at launch. Integration with the Microsoft Health web dashboard is coming soon.
  • Guided Workouts: Five new indoor biking workouts have been added to the Guided Workouts portfolio, including: Indoor Bike Tabata Sprints, Indoor Bike Hour of Sweat, Indoor Bike Total Body, Indoor Bike Pyramid, and Indoor Bike Intervals.
  • Quick Read: Quick Read provides another option to scan incoming texts, emails and other notifications. When enabled, notifications are displayed in a large font size and in rapid succession of words enabling users to read messages while in motion and without the need to scroll.
  • Virtual Keyboard & Voice Replies for Windows Phone 8.1 Users: Windows Phone 8.1 users can craft replies to text messages in two ways. Users can reply to text messages using the virtual keyboard with minimal errors with the help of Microsoft’s World Flow technology, which predicts commonly used words and phrases. They can also dictate responses with voice, powered by Cortana.

Integration

  • Microsoft HealthVault: Users can create a complete picture of their health, with them at the center. Microsoft HealthVault lets users organize their health information in one place, and helps them gather, store, use, and share information and records with their healthcare providers. Now with Microsoft HealthVault integration, a user’s Microsoft Health data is automatically uploaded to their HealthVault account, including their workout and sleep data. To link a Microsoft HealthVault account to Microsoft Health data, simply go to “Connected Apps” in the menu of the Microsoft Health app.
  • MapMyFitness: Starting today, users can sync to their MapMyFitness account. To link a MapMyFitness account to Microsoft Health data, simply go to “Connected Apps” in the menu of the Microsoft Health app.

Microsoft Band is back in stock at all physical Microsoft stores (U.S. only)

Microsoft-Band---official-images

Microsoft Bands have been very hard to come by and waiting lists for the popular device are reportedly very long.  Many people on these waiting lists will most likely be getting notified today, and for those of you who are not on these lists and want this device now, today is your chance as Microsoft has officially announced that units are now back in stock across all physical Microsoft stores in the US.

Microsoft’s online store is not showing any stock of their smartband and we wouldn’t hold our breath for online availability to be a reality this year.   We’re assuming that while stock is still in limited supply, it will most likely be relegated to physical Microsoft stores.

There is no official word on when the next batch is coming so we suggest you hurry if you still want one.

Source: Microsoft Store on Twitter

Today's online stock of Microsoft Band sells out in 15 minutes!

Microsoft-Band---official-images

The Microsoft Band has been back in stock today for online orders, but sadly it sold out again and this time in 15 minutes to consumers on first-come first-serve basis! We don’t know how many Microsoft Bands were brought back in stock today, but we’ve reported earlier that it would be a limited number once again.

Microsoft Band has been in short supply since the  initial launch and due to this, many people are selling them on eBay for rather high prices-some of them upwards of $500.

Microsoft stores are taking down names to notify consumers when the Band becomes available again, but we’ve heard reports that these lists are endless as many consumers are eagerly waiting for Microsoft’s new wearable device.

Must read: How Many Bands Did Microsoft Have at Launch? Would You Believe 5,000?

Microsoft has reported earlier that they will be receiving regular shipments of the Band throughout the holiday season, but we don’t know if these will be in large quantities so we suggest you order as soon as the option becomes available.  We will keep you posted if any new regarding new shipments comes in so stay tuned.

Microsoft's online store to receive a limited number of Microsoft Bands Tuesday

Microsoft-Band---official-images

For those of you waiting to get your hands on Microsoft’s newest wearable device, you may be in luck this Tuesday, but you’ll have place your order right way.  The Microsoft Store website will be selling the Microsoft Band at 1PM Eastern Time, and quantities will be limited again.

“Limited availability this Tuesday, November 18 at 1:00 PM EST. Get yours while you can, available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.”

Microsoft expects to have more Bands arriving throughout the holiday season so if you happen to miss out on Tuesday, you’ll have plenty of chances to get more.

The Microsoft Band is set to be a hot item this holiday season, and we’re curious if Microsoft will end up releasing sales figures for its wearable by the end of the year, as the software giant still has hasn’t officially disclosed any official information on the topic.

However,we did end up speaking to a Microsoft Band support rep and the number they gave us was quite surprising.

Source: Microsoft Store