Microsoft rechristens its 'Health' fitness apps as 'Band'

Microsoft is changing the name of its mobile Health apps that are available across Android, iOS, and Windows Phone to 'Band', following talk that the company is dropping its own fitness wearable.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has started renaming the Microsoft Health application to "Microsoft Band", on the heels of talk that Microsoft is likely phasing out its Band fitness device line.


WinBeta noted that Microsoft's latest update to its Health application for Android includes a name switch for that application to "Microsoft Band". A post-update refresh of the Microsoft Health app for Windows Phone also renames the app to "Microsoft Band", tweeted Neowin's Rich Woods. Ditto with the iOS version of the app.

To me, this is further evidence that Microsoft is eliminating its own Band device, since it seemingly is reusing that brand as a replacement for Microsoft Health.

I've asked Microsoft officials for more information as to what's happening and will update this post accordingly.

Earlier this week, I noted that my sources have said Microsoft has no plans to release a Band 3 fitness device this calendar year -- and possibly never will do so. Microsoft recently dismissed a software team inside the company whose mission it was to try to get the Band fitness device to run on a variant of Windows 10, my sources said. (The Band 1 and 2 devices both had firmware inside, not a variant of Windows.)

Microsoft's go-forward plan in the fitness wearables space for now is to focus on its Health service and related apps, sources of mine said.

So far, it still looks as if the Microsoft Health service behind the Band will remain named Microsoft Health. So maybe it's just the local mobile apps for syncing with the health service that will take on the Band name. The Microsoft Health web site says the following (wording which may or may not be new, as of today -- I'm not sure):

"You can use the Microsoft Band app and the Microsoft Health web dashboard to get personal insights even if you don't have a Microsoft Band."

Update (7 pm ET): This wording is new (thanks for confirming, Jan Dawson). Still no word from Microsoft as to what's happening, though.

Update (Sept. 16): Microsoft still isn't commenting. But some of my contacts are suggesting that the renaming of the current "Microsoft Health" app to "Microsoft Band" simply reflects what this app does today on the various platforms (Windows, Android, iOS): it sets up and updates the Microsoft Band fitness device.

My guess is there will be some kind of new Microsoft Health app coming that will not require a Microsoft Band, but it instead will work on Windows, Android, and iOS and provide fitness/activity-tracking via the Microsoft Health cloud back end.

I still feel like this latest move backs up my earlier source reports that Microsoft's Band is at the end of its life cycle. Maybe Microsoft will field some new wearable device some day, but it's increasingly sounding like it won't be a Microsoft Band.

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