Microsoft Joins the Fitness Tracking Game with Fitness Band

Microsoft is hoping to grab a slice of the fitness tracking market with its new Microsoft Band. The new fitness tracker packs in sensors for tracking steps, heart rate, UV light levels, and more.

Microsoft Band wants some action in the fitness tracker marketMicrosoft Band wants some action in the fitness tracker market

The Microsoft Band includes 10 sensors that track the usual data points found on other devices,including sleep tracking, but its built-in GPS, UV light sensor and galvanic shin response sensors set it apart. The UV sensor can alert wearers when they're getting too much sun exposure, and the galvanic sensor tracks stress levels. The built-in battery lasts for 48 hours between charges.

The device links up to the Microsoft's own Microsoft Health cloud-based system for aggregating fitness data both from the Band and trackers from other companies, much like Apple's HealthKit. Microsoft Band can link to Apple's iPhone, as well as Windows and Android-based smartphones, through companion apps.

Microsoft Band lands in the middle of the fitness tracker market to compete against offerings from Fitbit and Jawbone, and the Apple Watch, which is due to ship in early 2015. Fitbit's new Surge smartwatch-like tracker will ship about the same time, which give Microsoft a bit of a leg up since its device is available now.

Microsoft Band is priced at US$199. You can pick it up at Microsoft's retail stores or through the company's website, and the companion iPhone app is a free download at Apple's App Store.