We knew that wearables and health data were going to be big in 2014. Apple recently updated iOS devices to support Apple Health and last night we received news that Microsoft Health is now available. Microsoft went the open route though with the Microsoft Health app available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
The new Microsoft Health service is a cloud-based service designed to bring all of your health data into one location, even if you are not using their new Microsoft Band. The Microsoft Health service will eventually work with Jawbone UP, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and RunKeeper with more services being added in the future.
Jason Jacobs, CEO and founder of RunKeeper, stated:
RunKeeper is thrilled to join Microsoft in our shared mission of encouraging healthy and active living. A single, open destination for fitness data will allow us to provide even better insights to the more than 36 million people around the world using RunKeeper to experience the joys of running.
The new Microsoft Health service will provide insights from its Intelligence Engine so you can learn what exercises burn the most calories, the quality of your sleep, and much more.
Unfortunately, while the Microsoft Health app will eventually work with other services, for now you need one of the new Microsoft Band devices to set up the application. You can buy one now for $199.99. Microsoft stated that you will eventually be able to sync health data from other devices.
I found the story behind the band to be quite interesting and recommend you spend some time reading about the vast amount of research and development that went into creating the Microsoft Band and Health service.
Due to the cross platform nature of the new Microsoft Band and Health service, I ordered my own Microsoft Band last night. The form factor looks like a Samsung Gear Fit and comes with ten sensor modules, including GPS, optical heart rate sensor, skin temperature sensor, UV sensor, and more. Given that it has support for RunKeeper and GPS, this may even turn out to be a great GPS sports watch.
The Microsoft Band will also provide you with call, email, text, and social update notifications and access to Cortana. You can even pay for your Starbucks coffee with the Microsoft Band and if you buy one now you get a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Shoot, there still isn't even an official Starbucks app for Windows Phone 8.1.
The Microsoft Band is reported to last for 48 hours and has a 320x106 pixels 1.4 inch color display. It is dust and splash resistant so it is not designed for swimmers.