back to article Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US

Microsoft has joined the wearables market with “band”, a fitness-monitor-cum-smartwatch, which is accompanied by a suite of online services dubbed “Microsoft Health”. There's more than a hint of raised middle finger directed at Cupertino in the dual announcements, as Band is on sale now for US$199 and is said to have enough …

  1. returnmyjedi

    Encouraging to see that Microsoft have leant from their experience in setting the price of both the Surface and Xbox One higher than the competition and the resulting poor sales. For fifty fewer simoleons they could have been onto a winner.

    1. Anonymoist Cowyard

      Microsoft still haven't learnt

      They need to innovate, not just making inferior copies. Xbox one is tanking so badly not because of price (ps3 sales showed consumers will pay more if its worth it). Xbox one problem is rubbish specs and burnt last gen users.

      1. dogged

        Re: Microsoft still haven't learnt

        what is this an inferior copy of, exactly?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: what is this an inferior copy of, exactly?

          for starters, then there is a slew of other Android activity trackers, along with Withings, Fitbit and no doubt others.

          This is basically a year late and a dollar short. Pretty much usual story for Microsoft these days.

          1. dogged

            Re: what is this an inferior copy of, exactly?

            Find one with GPS at that price, anonymous hater.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Microsoft still haven't learnt

        So it has GPS which few fitness bands have - WIN

        It has a proper colour screen that is useful, which few fitness bands have - WIN

        Battery life better than Samsung - WIN

        It works with the three main phone OSes - WIN

        Seems to me they have learned from the mistakes of the competition.

    2. Zog_but_not_the_first

      Simoleons? Give the direction of travel of this kind of tech, I would have thought Quatloons would be the currency of choice.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be fair, Xbox One was basically the same price as PS4, the problem was the assumption everyone would want the Kinect (which I still think is worth having) and the dreadful marketing introduction. Still astounded that the Surface Pro 3 developer model (512Gb) weighs in at £1750 including VAT. For a 12" 2in1 laptop for goodness sake.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Xbox One

        So for a console that half as powerful as a PS4, noisier, uglier you pay the same price? That's why it's tanking. Microsoft thought they had won over gamers last generation without their slick marketing, so much so, they thought they could cost-cut on the Xbox One specs, fit a crap CPU and GPU, el-cheapo DDR3 memory and load it up to the hilt with DRM and online authorisation, and nobody would bat an eyelid.

        They thought wrong. Sure they have reversed the bad DRM decision, but the crap CPU/GPU/Memory specs are going to haunt them for another 7 years.

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    HR / GPS / Bluetooth....

    I can almost imagine buying one of these...

    I'm assuming BT4, and hoping that additional sensors can be employed via said interface (but that's not a breaker)

    I'm also assuming that it can do route following, with beep/vibrate alerts to look at it for directions.

    Have nothing else windowsy to connect it to, but so long as it behaves reasonably as a standalone device that's no problem.

    Microsoft back to doing what they do best - peripherals hardware (Microsoft mice and keyboards have been on my desk for years...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HR / GPS / Bluetooth....

      "I can almost imagine buying one of these..."

      Me too. I'm currently going out running with my Nexus 4 strapped to my arm with runkeeper running on the phone. Not ideal, I'm constantly worried about it getting wet. For me, GPS is a must (i find pedometers to be shite), as is something that reports distance and pace (the runkeeper voice tells me every 5 mins or kilometer, but I'd be just as happy to read this from my wrist). Heart rate would be an excellent addition.

      Unless I'm looking in the wrong places, I see nothing comparable at the same price. Assuming the USD to GBP exchange rate doesn't magically become 1:1 yet again.

  3. Mark 110


    None of these things seem to have swimming or cycling analytics on them. Bit of a gap if you ask me. Plenty of people swim and cycle as part of their fitness regime.

    1. dogged

      Re: Swimming

      This one's dustproof and splashproof but not swimming-proof. Personally I wouldn't swim with anything that wasn't resistant to 10ATM but the capabilities of this thing are only matched by Garmin and Suunto gear that costs over $500 so you can't really fault it on value.

      And GPS+HR monitor means that cycling analytics is just a software problem, so there's that.

      1. Graham 24

        Re: Cycling

        For cycling, ANT+ is fast becoming the de-facto standard for speed, cadence and power measurements, so provided it speaks to (or more accurately listens to) ANT+ devices, it should be OK for cycling).

        You can do speed via GPS, but a wheel sensor is much more accurate.

        1. Nick L

          Re: Cycling

          ANT+ was needed when BT4 wasn't around. Now BT4 is there, well... I'm not convinced on the need for ANT+. (I have a Garmin 800 paired to garmin HRM, garmin cadence/speed and also a PowerTap powermeter - all using Ant+)

          1. Andy2830

            Re: Cycling

            BT4 can only pair to 1 device, ANT+ will pair to any number.

            In your case imagine using your bike on a turbo trainer and sending data to TrainerRoad, you need to re-pair everything each time or have a second set for indoor or outdoor use if you had BT4

      2. Mark 110

        Re: Swimming

        I have a Garmin Swim for swimming - no heart rate monitor on that though. And use MapMyRide on my phone for basic cycling stuff - no heart rate monitor. Would just be nice to have one device around the £100 mark of the Garmin Swim that would do the lot.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Swimming

      With it having GPS it will track speed and distance. That's better than most fitness bands.

      To do cycling properly you either need a cadence sensor or the ability to connect with a power meter hub.

    3. Cloud 9

      Re: Swimming

      All I'm good for is a lap of the pool so immediately saw the same issue. I'll still buy one though because it's actually a sexy little gadget and I already have a Windows Phone (much to the ire of the iPhone horde).

  4. SuperTim

    Actionable Insights...

    Wow...Microsoft really do the whole "Warm and fuzzy" thing, don't they! Their press release sounds like the sort of thing our senior management would say in the meetings I fall asleep in!

  5. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    So, when can I have the one I need?

    Blood sugar without making holes in me, please.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: So, when can I have the one I need?

      "Blood sugar without making holes in me, please."

      Not sure how that could be achieved; maybe a camera that can recognise doughnuts and coke bottles?

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Re: So, when can I have the one I need?

      If you can find a way of measuring blood sugar without a pin (and the unstable, one-time-use enzyme that checks the blood), you should clear October from your calendar... you might need to go to Sweden to collect a medal.

      The only thing preventing the development of an implantable insulin pump is that there is no suitable method to measure blood sugar.

      1. Benjol

        Re: So, when can I have the one I need?


        Getting the insulin into the pump could be a challenge...

    3. Benjol

      Re: So, when can I have the one I need?


      You tried the FreeStyle Libre? I know, still a hole, but only once every 14 days.

      Unfortunately not available here :(

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: So, when can I have the one I need?


        Good call, but unfortunately sixty quid a fortnight for the sensor, unless I can persuade my GP to prescribe one!

        I saw a stick-free one in development, and lost the link, and google is not helping... google are developing a contact lens for the job.

        1. Swarthy

          Re: So, when can I have the one I need?

          I think I recall a research/prototype device that used an IR light (Laser) to read the blood sugar in a finger without holes.

          Aha! Here it is. According to the article we should start seeing these commercially available in about a year or so.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Why, exactly ...

    ... would I want something like this?

    Either I already know how to take care of my body, or I really don't care about myself. Silly-ass wearable bits & bobs won't change this fact.

    1. dogged

      Re: Why, exactly ...

      Because you don't know. Nobody really knows. Do I sleep better if I eat earlier? Maybe. Do you? Maybe. Do you follow exactly the same set of rules that I do? Unlikely.

      Hard data is hard data. It's up to us to decide whether to use it or just to sneer about every new idea or device that comes along - oh, it's jake, nevermind.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: Why, exactly ...

        These are definitely not my thing, but the UV monitor sounds useful to this Celtic-skinned reader, mainly because UV index is the one thing that your body doesn't tell you ... until the damage is done.

        (That said, I'm sure jake has trained himself to develop extented-spectrum vision, and can see from the 5Ghz band all the way to gamma rays, but for us mortals...)

        Incidentally, it looks like the accompanying app is being launched on iOS and Android too, not just Windows Phone ( - about halfway down).

      2. jake Silver badge

        @ dogged (was: Re: Why, exactly ...)

        I'll give you "hard data".

        Humans have lived for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years without this kind of tat. If you are hungry, eat. If you are thirsty, drink water. If you are tired, rest. It ain't exactly rocket science. Sneering at me is not exactly conducive to your "argument".

        1. dogged

          Re: @ dogged (was: Why, exactly ...)

          you reap what you sow, old thing, and you sneer at everything.

          Yes, humans have been around a long time but life expectancy now is not what it was 10,000 years ago because of this thing we modern humans call "technology". This may or may not be a means of producing a data sample big enough to suggest ways of extending that lifespan and physical health a bit longer but we'll never know if we just come out with your eternal "oh, humans have existed for centuries without your newfangled "cooking" bullshit, go away".

        2. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: @ dogged (was: Why, exactly ...)

          "Humans have lived for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years without this kind of tat" -- jake

          For most of those millenia, 35 was old. Whilst I agree with your sentiment in a lot of cases, hard data can be useful. My old GP used to reckon that if every bathroom scale was swapped by the NHS for a blood pressure monitor, several lives would be saved: you know if you're fat when you put on your trousers; you pretty much have no idea what your BP is without measurement.

          1. phil dude
            Thumb Up

            Re: @ dogged (was: Why, exactly ...)


            The age of GP's guessing what is wrong with you is fast going away. They need hard data, even if they don't currently know it, someday it will be crucial.

            Heartrate monitors are the only non-obstrusive objective measure of cardiovascular effort. Blood pressure measurements are really useful when correlated, but not easy to take when you are running!

            I ,like many here, am waiting for a wrist device that is GPS+HR+10M waterproof. Especially if I don't need the Polar strap...


  7. Wam

    You say it can be worn for 24 hours a day- but maybe only for one day?

    1. dogged

      You could maybe charge it while you're writing comments on the Register.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: You say it can be worn for 24 hours a day

      "You say it can be worn for 24 hours a day"

      Reading their oh so boring release on it, they claim up to 48 hours from a charge ("normal use", less if using GPS etc) and a full charge in under an hour and a half.

      To reply to another poster, it is indeed BlueTooth 4 (low energy).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fool me once...

    Never buy a version one Microsoft product you've gotta wait for them to iron out the kinks so I'll wait for the next one. The Microsoft Band 10 since that's the logical naming convention right?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Americans will love this.

    Microsoft spin doctors will be poking the media to tell Americans that this will make them live longer, and the idiots will queue up to buy it. Sadly, They will of course drive 100yrds in their SUV to the store to buy it, stopping at McDonalds on the way for a BigMac and coke, and then a posh frothy coffee on the way back...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Americans will love this.

      "Microsoft spin doctors will be poking the media to tell Americans that this will make them live longer, and the idiots will queue up to buy it."

      As it doesn't yet come in XXXL Super Bingo Wings size, presumably they are only going after a small segment of the US market to start with...

  10. Alister

    ..."If the number of meetings during the day impacts sleep quality".

    I should say so!

    How can I get any sleep if you keep waking me up to go to meetings!

    1. wikkity

      > How can I get any sleep if you keep waking me up to go to meetings!

      Thought you were supposed to sleep during meetings not before.

    2. Swarthy

      I disagree, How will I get any sleep if I don't have enough meetings. When I'm at my desk, I have work that keeps me awake, I need the meetings so I can rest.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Band can measure heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep quality"

    No "shag due" alert to help reduce risk of prostate cancer?

    1. dogged

      Re: "Band can measure heart rate, steps, calorie burn, and sleep quality"

      you should write an app for that.

  12. chrismeggs

    Big brother?

    Oh, I know, but someone has yo say it.

    How long would it be before life insurance schemes, credit agents and the like demand so many months wearable monitoring history before they advance services?

    Not a government Big Brother, that's for sure, but an effective barrier to the great British public.

  13. Unep Eurobats


    I'm interested in this kind of thing, but I've heard that an optical HRM at the wrist isn't very accurate during excercise.

    1. PeterGriffin

      Re: Accuracy?

      This review of an optical HRM has a good comparison data to a standard HRM strap:

      1. Unep Eurobats

        Re: Accuracy?

        Thanks for that. The wrist and chest sensors compare very well. I've found the article I was thinking of, which is here. However it doesn't include the Mio.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How did we manage until now ...

    ... without this wrist bullshit?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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