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Microsoft Band fitness tracker and Microsoft Health platform announced

Microsoft has finally taken the wraps off its own fitness tracker, Microsoft Band, as well as a Microsoft Health platform that will run on it and other devices.

The Microft Band is being referred to by Microsoft as a “smart band,” and seems to be intended as a halfway point between a smartwatch and a traditional fitness tracker.

As predicted, its design is closer to the Samsung Gear Fit than any Android Wear device, with a long and thin display. It’s apparently been designed to be worn 24 hours a day, though, so it’s not just for runners and fitness fanatics.

The Microsoft Band contains 10 smart sensors that continuously monitor your heart rate, measure your calorie burning, and track your sleep pattern.

Besides this, the Microsoft Band also features smartwatch elements like incoming call and message notifications and social network updates. Interestingly, it’ll also provide access to Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistant, provided you pair it up with a Windows Phone device.

The Microsoft Band is available in limited quantities at the Microsoft Store and in Microsoft Retail Stores in the US for $199 (around £124).

Microsoft Health, meanwhile, appears to be Microsoft’s answer to Apple Health, and we’re not just talking about the name. It seems to have a similar purpose – to bring together fitness data from multiple devices and services.

The Microsoft Health platform includes a cloud service for consumers and the industry to store and combine health and fitness data to create powerful insights,” says Microsoft’s Todd Holmdahl in a blog post on the subject.

It combines data on calorie burning, steps taken, heart rate and the like in one hub location. Microsoft Health will then offer insights on that data such as which exercise burns the most calories, or how much recovery time you should take after depending on the intensity of the workout recorded. It’s claimed that these insights will get smarter¬† over time, taking into account your work schedule and eating habits.

Unlike Apple Health, the Microsoft Health platform will operate across all three major smartphone platforms – Windows Phone, Android, and iOS – with apps available in all three US app stores.

Microsoft has also announced that Microsoft Health currently works with UP by Jawbone, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper.

There’s no news on when the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health will come to other countries, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Read More: Apple Watch vs Android Wear