Redmond Ready to Flood the Market With Microsoft Bands


Microsoft is ratcheting up the availability of its Microsoft Band wearables with new retailer partnerships in the United States, increased inventory in Microsoft stores across the country, and expansion into the United Kingdom.

The fitness tracker has to date only been sold in Microsoft stores and online through the software giant since its release last October. The Microsoft Band was initially produced in very limited supplies and the $199 wearable sold out on its first day of availability in the U.S.

But Microsoft said on Tuesday that “in the coming weeks,” Microsoft stores in the U.S. “will receive larger shipments than before, on a more regular basis, and will continue to sell the product in all brick and mortar stores and at”

Redmond has also inked distribution deals with Amazon, Best Buy, and Target to sell the Microsoft Band online and at their brick-and-mortar outlets, beginning immediately.

“Microsoft has a long history of partnering with these retailers and we are pleased to welcome them on this journey with us. They will begin selling product today, with increased shipments planned for the weeks and months ahead,” Matt Barlow, general manager of new devices at Microsoft

The third part of Microsoft’s ramp of the Microsoft Band is its expansion into the U.K., where the device will be sold for £169.99 ($250) at Microsoft stores and through “key retail partners” like Amazon, Curry’s PC World, Dixons Travel, Harrods, and O2, Barlow said.

The Microsoft Band goes on sale in the U.K. on April 15, with pre-orders available from some retail partners at an earlier date.

Barlow said Microsoft has been listening to feedback from customers and partners on the Band as it prepares for a wider rollout. In addition to issuing an update last month that added a Web dashboard and other new capabilities to the device, he said Microsoft would be rolling out updates more frequently in the coming days.

“In February, we successfully implemented our first response to our customer’s direct feedback with a robust update which included the addition of a Web dashboard that features new health and fitness observations and more detailed charts for viewing data,” Barlow said. “We also added biking functionality, new productivity features for viewing and responding to notifications, deeper integration with MapMyFitness and Microsoft HealthVault, and the introduction of the Microsoft Band SDK Developer Preview.

“This was just the first of many updates we plan to make available, giving our customers new features and functionality over time at no additional cost.”

Though the Microsoft Band is often discussed as a rival to the Apple Watch, Microsoft has consistently labeled its device as “a complement to your watch.” Of course, it’s a pretty potent “complement.” Microsoft’s activity tracker has ten sensors, including GPS, a heart rate monitor, and a UV sensor, while supporting assorted apps (or “Tiles”) including Facebook, calls and messages, and an alarm and timer—making it a smartwatch in all but name, according to many.

The Microsoft Band runs a lot of its functionality via included Microsoft Health software and can sync via Bluetooth with mobile devices running Windows Phone 8.1, Android 4.3 and up, and iOS 7.1 and up.

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