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  • The Microsoft Fitness Band
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Microsoft Introduces the Microsoft Band for Fitness Buffs

You knew it was only a matter of time. Microsoft has thrown its hat into the ring of wearable tech, but it remains to be seen if it can compete with the numerous others on the market similar to it, like Fitbit and the Nike FuelBand.

The Microsoft device, called the Microsoft Band, comes linked up to the Microsoft Health service (akin to the Nike + community) that will compile and analyze all data collected from the band along with other devices compatible with the program in order to help the wearer achieve the fitness goals they are working towards.

Wearable is the New Black

It seems wearable tech is the new thing that everyone wants in the world of fitness, so of course Microsoft wants in. What easier way to chart your fitness goals than to let your bracelet or watch track your heart rate and other stats, along with a program to tell you what it all means at the end of the day? Companies tapping into this market know what they're doing – it's an easy way to get into the lifestyle and health market that is booming.

This bracelet is similar to products like it – it's black and made of rubber, and has a display to give you Facebook notifications, text messages, and to rival Apple's Pay, a bar code that allows you to pay for items at your local Starbucks without your wallet. All day long, the sensors built in to the device will track your heart rate and how many calories you've burned, and at night, how well you're sleeping.

Something Different for Microsoft

This seems a bit outside of Microsoft's box, but certainly comes with everything you need to make this your fitness tracker of choice. It has GPS technology, which allows runners and cyclists to more easily log mileage. No more strapping your phone to your arm!

The price point will make some second guess holding out for the Apple Watch. The Microsoft Band will be $199, while the Apple Watch will stat at $349. What's more, the Apple Watch requires a phone in order to rely on GPS tracking, giving more value to the Microsoft version. Fitbit also intends on releasing a watch called the Surge, complete with GPS and due to come out sometime in early 2015, for $250.

A Winner for Microsoft?

The company announced the Band will be sold via their website and retail stores beginning Thursday, and they're quite proud of all this device has to offer the fitness community. It remains to be seen if this device can overcome the problem with the majority of such devices on the market – will it accurately track heart rate? What's more, one wonders if the data displayed on the app will actually be useful.

Experts feel that Microsoft might have the upper hand on this last point as the company is known for its success in the cloud. The company plans to integrate multiple programs, not just the band, with the app including Microsoft Outlook. The Microsoft Health app will also communicate with other fitness products like RunKeeper and Jawbone. In the end, Microsoft wants you to give this band a try. They believe that if you do, you'll realize they've created the perfect fitness tracker.