As you all know, Microsoft last week announced their first wearable Microsoft Band and it went on sale on the same day. Since Microsoft released it in limited quantities, it is currently out of stock. While the market is moving towards smartwatch, Microsoft has now released a fitness oriented Band. Can the Microsoft Band be used without a smartphone? How is the functionality affected? Microsoft has mentioned the following,
To get the full Microsoft Band experience, you must pair the device with a smartphone. However, even without a paired mobile phone, you can still enjoy some of the fitness functionality of Microsoft Band such as: steps, calories burned, heart rate measurement, basic running, exercise, and sleep summaries. The Microsoft Band’s watch functionality also works independent of a smartphone, including stopwatch, timers, and alarms. Other Microsoft Band’s features, such as access to Cortana (when paired to a Windows Phone 8.1 device) and guided workouts, can only be experienced when paired to a smartphone. You must pair the device with a smartphone at least once to complete setup via the mobile app.
When you consider the recently announced and released smartwatches like Apple Watch or Moto 360, they are more independent of the respective smartphone platforms. They have internal storage in GBs. They have a full app platforms on which developers can write their own apps. In fact, Apple is targeting thousands of apps for Apple Watch when it is releasing early next year. Microsoft recently announced that they are working to open up Microsoft Band for 3rd party developers, but the current Band platform is too limited and restrictive for developers. In fact, developers need to write their apps for Microsoft Band in C language unlike .Net or XAML or any web based platform.
There are rumors that Microsoft Band is just a product that was released to gather feedback from consumers before they announce their smartwatch. Do you think Microsoft should follow Apple and Google is releasing their own smartwatch platform?