Microsoft Corporation Adds Music Controls, Inactivity Alerts to the Band Wearable

13 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A “What’s New” Tile in this update to Microsoft Band implies better future support.

If you’re among those who want to kick your fitness into high gear in the New Year, the Microsoft Band just got an upgrade, with new features like music controls, activity reminders, and an improved and enhanced Exercise Tile. “You’ll find the perfect tunes to get you in the holiday spirit this month with our new partner Spotify,” Microsoft announced, though any mobile music app will connect to the Band via Bluetooth. Whether you’re pumping iron at the gym, taking a run through the park, or doing yoga in the living room, Redmond’s wearable now displays song titles, and lets you pause and play, skip forward and back, and turn the volume up or down. It’s a tacit commitment to future updates, which would be a positive change for the neglected Band. “The tile will automatically appear on your band when new updates are available,” said Microsoft. “Tap the tile to learn about great new features and functionality.” The other new features in this updates include music controls.

Because the Band 2 works with Android and iOS devices as well as Windows Phones, they’ll work with any music app that can be controlled through Bluetooth (not just its own Groove Music). Featuring a curved display, the second version also offered a handful of improvements, including additional sensors, built-in GPS, UV monitoring, sleep-tracking, and notifications for calls and texts. You can choose a desired time interval or number of days in between notifications, and once it’s time to give you a buzz, Band will show you a tiny blue snail lighting up, with that snail telling you that “you haven’t been active recently.” Other new and/or updated additions in the Band update include the revamped Exercise Tile, which allows you to choose your favorite exercise activity from a list of presets, or create your own. And if you’re looking for something a bit more hardcore, you can also now select your preferred exercise under the Exercise tile, rather than sticking to a generic workout.

You can then review your exercise sessions on the Microsoft Health app or Internet portal, with detailed information grouped conveniently by exercise type. Whatever your perspective, Microsoft’s history of improvements has been characterized by the “general bug fixes and improvements” scattered across its update history, without any indication that they were significant. That you still need to have your phone with you is not a major deal-breaker, given that most people tend to like having their phone with them at all times, anyway.

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