Up 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.
Microsoft 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 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.
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.
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.
By now the ‘Stealth Launch’ of the Microsoft Band is quickly becoming a legend. Quantities were so limited at launch that it sold out on line within hours. That sounds more like a gold-plated iPhone launch than an unexpected new Microsoft product release, but that’s how it was.
And to a large extent, it still is. It’s been a couple of weeks now and the Band is still Out Of Stock online, and reports are that most stores are out as well.
There has been a lot of speculation online that Microsoft did this deliberately, to create the appearance that this was a highly desired and successful product. Personally, I don’t think that makes much sense, but clearly there was a mis-match between supply and demand.
While I was on the line I mentioned how lucky I seemed to have been to get one of them before they sold out. “You’re luckier than you think, Microsoft only had 5,000 of them for the launch.” he said.
That hit me like a thunderbolt. “Five thousand!”, I exclaimed. “Are you kidding me!”. “No.” He replied, “Five thousand. Five, zero, zero, zero. That’s all. They’re working hard now to build more to meet the demand, but we have no idea when they will be back in stock again.”
I asked him to repeat the number back to me, just so I was sure I understood. He did, and again, the number was just 5,000.
That’s an amazingly small product launch. There’s testing the waters, but this would be more like testing a puddle!
Now, Support people are an interesting group. Sometimes they know more than they should, and sometimes they know less than they need to, and sometimes they don’t know as much as they think they do. Most of the time I’ve found they know what they need to solve basic issues, so even though it was a recent and very interesting event, one wonders why a support rep would be privy to launch stock volume information.
After all, this IS Microsoft. How long did it take them to release sales numbers for the Xbox One? So in the interests of keeping facts straight, we reached out to Microsoft and asked them to comment on the information their rep had given me.
Initially, their response, was, well, I’ll let you read it:
From a Microsoft spokesperson:
“We are excited by the response we have seen to Microsoft Band but Microsoft does not comment on production volumes.”
That’s not saying much is it. It neither confirmed nor denied the accuracy of the information at hand. Having added nothing to the conversation, we were just going to have to go with what we had. I guess Microsoft figured that out, because after a short while they added the following:
“we don’t officially share or comment on specific numbers but, so you’re aware, we have built and have sold well beyond 5,000 units.“
So there you have it. Was it 5,000, or “well beyond 5,000 units.”? Personally, I thought the 5,000 number was low, but clearly they had a lot fewer than they could have sold. Let’s hope they will be able to work through the backlog soon. Both Black Friday and Christmas are coming up, as are a number of Openings of new Microsoft Stores (we will be covering some of them) so there will be a lot of people hoping to see one on their wrist soon.