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Microsoft Band receives hefty update, adds WordFlow keyboard and more

by Brandon Russell | February 23, 2015February 23, 2015 7:00 pm PDT

Microsoft Band-2

The Microsoft Band was a surprise arrival on the activity tracking scene last year, and a big update is making the wearable even better as an alternative to stalwarts like Fitbit. The Redmond company on Monday introduced a number of new features, including a dedicated cycling tile, new downloadable workouts, and a more robust online experience for better data insight. Hey, the Microsoft Band is actually getting pretty good.

For cyclists, the Microsoft Band will now track your rides using GPS, including information like duration, distance, calorie burn and more. The great thing is is that the Band will track you whether you’re cycling on a stationary bike or going for a cruise down Pacific Coast Highway—there are also five different cycling-related workouts as part of the new feature, with more to come down the road (cycling pun?).

The information that’s tracked is all detailed in new charts found on Microsoft’s new Health web dashboard, which provides data about your sleep and exercise. For now stuff like Insights can only be viewed online, though Microsoft says it plans on updating its Microsoft Health phone app that’s currently available for both Android and iOS.

The updates are all part of Microsoft’s promise to consistently improve its Band wearable, which is quietly becoming one of the better activity trackers on the market. A developer SDK for Microsoft Band apps is on the way, Microsoft said, ostensibly paving the way for a much more powerful future.

Finally, the latest update also introduces WordFlow, giving users the ability to quickly respond to messages. The Band’s screen is tiny, but it’s nice to be able to have the option; it’s not quite as elegant as using Cortana, which Windows Phone users have access to.

Going forward, Microsoft is promising to introduce monthly updates to the Band, so users can expect plenty of nice improvements over the next few months. Chances are whatever little quirks and problems you have with the activity tracker will be ironed out sooner rather than later. You should be able to get the newest Band update today.

CNET

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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