Microsoft enthusiasm for Band wears off as line ends

4 Oct 2016

Microsoft Band. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Microsoft’s foray into health-tracking wearables has proved short-lived, with Band 2 potentially the last of the family line as the tech giant shifts away from the industry.

While the Apple Watch gamely fights FitBit’s crown as the most popular wrist wearable on the market, attempts by Microsoft with its Band range have ended with a damp squib.

Reports in the US that the company was walking away from the product line may not have been completely accepted by Microsoft, but the signs are pretty ominous for Band users out there.

Microsoft Band

With Band 2 removed from the Microsoft Store (it still appears available on the company’s primary website, but there are none following through to the store), and Microsoft Band SDK no longer available for developers, the company has said it had no plans to release a Band 3 any time soon.

“We have sold through our existing Band 2 inventory and have no plans to release another Band device this year,” the company said in a statement.

“We remain committed to supporting our Microsoft Band 2 customers through Microsoft Stores and our customer support channels, and will continue to invest in the Microsoft Health platform, which is open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices.”

While the company’s interest in everything cloud ramps up significantly, it’s leaving the wearables space just as things are starting to spice up.

Apple’s introduction into the health wearables space was supposed to kickstart an industry currently dominated by Fitbit, but not quite a sphere that appeared to hold any high likelihood of long-term viability.

That may have all changed last week when a US health insurer bet big on the Apple Watch. Aiming to “revolutionise” its customers’ health experience, Aetna is giving an Apple Watch to each of its 50,000 employees.

It will also subsidise a “significant portion” of the cost of the watches to select large employers and individual customers.

Subsequently, Aetna will roll out some of its own iOS apps for its customers to use, most likely providing the company with a few more real-time readings than usual.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic