Microsoft’s first fitness-friendly golf-tracking Band 2 smart band has a lot going for it, but the name isn’t one of those things.
There are plenty of watches and smart bands out there, and now there’s one more, as Microsoft delivers its second-gen “Band” to Australia.
Now that everyone has a smartphone that also happens to be a fairly capable computer — and if you don’t yet, you will very shortly — wearables are the next big market for companies to take on. We’ve seen them for the past few years, and 2016 looks to be bigger for the wearable computer than ever, as the manufacturers dabble in new technologies and straddle the line between smartwatches used for telling the time and getting notifications, and then fitness wearables aimed at helping you lose weight and understand how you’re doing physically.
There is a middle ground in this area, though, and that is the “smart band”.
This gadget takes much of the technology seen in a smartwatch, including the screen and ability to receive notifications, but wraps it around your wrist in a band, allowing people not really into the whole “watch” thing to have something similar strapped to their body.
We’ve seen a few of these before, and most of them tend to be specifically for fitness, including the wearables from Jawbone and Fitbit, though Samsung and LG have both dabbled with smart bands featuring OLED screens on them for more than just fitness tracking, and now it seems like Microsoft is doing the same with the “Band 2”.
Now if you’ve visited the Microsoft Store in Sydney since its launch last year, there’s a good chance that this might seem like old news, because in a way, it is.
Officially, Microsoft’s second-generation Band was made available to anyone who walked into that store when it opened back in November, but you had to buy it physically in the store.
Head to another store — a JB HiFi or a Harvey Norman — and that wasn’t going to happen, with Microsoft’s Band 2 only available at the first Microsoft Store outside America.
Not anymore, though.
This week the Microsoft Band 2 gets in front of more eyes and potentially more wrists as the smart band is rolled out to Harvey Norman, JB HiFi, Rebel Sports, and Microsoft’s online store for Australia.
That’s good news for Microsoft, and good news for customers keen to see a different take on the smart band and even the smartwatch, because the Band 2 kind of fills in the spot of both of them.