New Microsoft Band Makes its Debut

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New Microsoft Band Makes its Debut

New Microsoft Band Makes its Debut

With the usual fanfare accorded a new product from one of the biggest names in the tech world, Microsoft unveiled the second generation of its Microsoft Band on Tuesday at a press conference in New York City. Unfortunately, since this is the beleaguered Microsoft brand, the news isn’t all that exciting.

Last year Microsoft actually beat Apple to the punch by introducing its own wearable device before its archrival could debut the Apple Watch. The original Microsoft Band was a rather strange hybrid of smartwatch and fitness tracker with a small flat display that showed notifications and a few apps. It sold for $199 and worked with Android and iOS smartphones as well as Windows phones.

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The Microsoft Band was not a big hit so the company went back to the drawing board to make changes in the second version. On the bright side, some of the problems users had with the original have been corrected like giving the band a curved screen with tough gorilla glass and AMOLED display. It’s also more responsive to touch and has an 11th sensor for a barometer. There are also lots of tools for fitness buffs and golfers. Battery life is about 48 hours with normal use.

The bad part is the price: $249. Yes, Microsoft is charging an extra $50 for a few upgrades that probably should have been included with the first Microsoft Band. The Band 2 comes in three wrist sizes and is available for pre-orders now. The official ship date is October 30.

The smartwatch is expected to be the most-wanted gift item for the 2015 holiday shopping season with a wide selection of devices to choose from and more coming every week. In that crowded field, the Microsoft Band 2 just doesn’t stand out.

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