Just a few months after the new Microsoft Band came out, the company is adding functionality with a small software update. The two biggest features of this update—music controls and inactivity alerts—contribute to the band’s identity as part smartwatch and part fitness tracker.
According to Microsoft’s blog, you’ll be able to control music playback on your smartphone from the Microsoft Band. The touchscreen will display the song’s title and icons to play, pause, and skip tracks, as well as adjust volume levels. Microsoft calls out Spotify in its blog post, but you’ll be able to control playback from any music app that connects with your smartphone’s Bluetooth features. While some higher-end fitness trackers have music controls, it’s a feature more often found on smartwatches.
To get up to speed with even the most basic activity trackers, Microsoft added customizable inactivity alerts to the band as well. We can only assume these will come in the form of band vibrations and display flashes when you’ve been inactive for too long. Microsoft explains that you’ll be able to set days and times for when you want the inactivity alerts to jolt you, so the band shouldn’t rudely wake you from sleep.
Finally, Microsoft has improved the band’s Exercise tile and is adding a “What’s New” tile. It appears you’ll be able to choose from a few different workouts through the Exercise tile on the band; once chosen, the band will track duration, calorie burn, and heart rate in real time. You can then log on to Microsoft Health to review your activities, and they will be organized by exercise type so they’re easier to find and manage. As far as the “What’s New” tile goes, it will appear on your band when there are new updates available from Microsoft.
Ever since the first edition of the Microsoft Band, the company has updated it incrementally with minor features such as an on-screen keyboard for composing short messages. Introducing this tile could mean the company plans on updating the band more regularly.