It was only yesterday that anyone could visit the online store for Microsoft’s retail website and purchase all three sizes of its Microsoft Band, fitness wearable. All too soon though, Microsoft’s iWatch rival is a completely sold out.
Yesterday, Microsoft Store shoppers could order the $199 smartphone companion and fitness tracker and get it before the holiday season. Today, that isn’t the case at all. After clicking on the Buy Now button, users are taken to another section of the Microsoft Band page where they can sign up for a notification whenever the Microsoft Store manages to get more Microsoft Bands stock. All three sizes are completely sold out.
Microsoft is encouraging users who want to experience the Microsoft Band for themselves to head to one of its many retail stores to backorder the device. There they’ll be able to try it on and experience its software for themselves too.
Microsoft revealed the Microsoft Band late this past October. As rumors indicated beforehand, the Microsoft Band is an iWatch and Android Wear competitor, but Microsoft has taken a different angle on the trend. Apple and Google’s solutions rely on users wanting something that does a lot and has a lot of features on their wrist in addition to their smartphone. Although the Microsoft Band has a few different features, it’s first and foremost about heal tracking.
There are almost a dozen different sensors built into the Microsoft Band. For working out with enabling the GPS on your phone, there’s the Microsoft Band has its own GPS sensor. The rest of the sensor lineup includes a Optical heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, ambient light sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, capacitive sensor, galvanic skin response sensor. All of these are used to keep track of someone’s sleeping patterns, work-out habits and heart rate.
The Microsoft Band itself uses the sensor data collected to keep users active when they need a bit of a nudge. On board is only 64MB of RAM. The Microsoft Band pushes all of the things it learns to a companion app on Windows Phone, iPhone and Android called Microsoft Health. Microsoft Health gives Microsoft Band users detailed breakdowns of their workout routine and more.
The overwhelming majority of fitness bands in the Microsoft Band’s class don’t come with touchscreens or don’t provide a lot to do with the screens they have. Fitness is a big priority for the Microsoft Band, but it’s not Microsoft’s only priority. That 1.30-inch touchscreen is also there because the Microsoft Band acts as a second screen experience for those who don’t want to keep pulling their phone out of their pocket.
Users can read text messages coming to their phone and respond to them with a set of basic preset replies. Calls can also be silenced directly from the wrist band. It also handles incoming calls and voicemails. Email notifications and calendar alerts are synced to the Microsoft Band too. All users can customize the face of the Microsoft Band to fit their personality using a couple of different backgrounds and colors.
The Microsoft Band has a built in microphone so that Cortana, the Windows Phone personal assistant powered by the Bing search engine and named after a character in Halo, is always at the ready. Users can ask Cortana for directions and other questions directly from their wrist. She provides news, updates and weather updates when they’re needed too. The Microsoft Band is the first thing besides Windows Phone to pick up Cortana integration. Rumors are that Cortana is coming to Microsoft’s Windows operating system with Windows 10. The Microsoft band is compatible with Android and iPhone too, but only Windows Phone users have Cortana today.
All three sizes of the Microsoft Band cost $199 and they only come in black. Microsoft hasn’t yet said when it expects more Microsoft Band stock to arrive in stores.