Microsoft 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.
Although 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.