microsoft health

The Withings Activite is an analog styled watch with fitness tracking capabilities. As GigaOm describes it:

The Activite can track calories, steps, running workouts, and sleep. It’s even waterproof, and Withings hopes to add a swimming workout mode soon.

The watch looks great. Gorgeous even. I like how there’s a secondary dial that shows you how close you are to your steps goal.

However, this would make a poor fitness tracker. Here’s why: first, a watch is fundamentally different from a fitness band; and second, data from the Activite will live in isolation from all your other health data.

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Looks like this is a Microsoft week. The Redmond company just revealed the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health. I must confess the strategy makes more sense than I expected it to.

Microsoft isn’t competing with Android Wear or Apple Watch as much as it is with Google Fit and Apple Health Kit. The latter along with Microsoft Health are cloud platforms to make life easier for developers of health products and services. An operating system for health if you will. This benefits the consumer too as data is able to follow her no matter what device or operating system she uses.

For example, I might have regular walking data on my iPhone or Moto X; data from the day I played tennis with my Fitbit, without my phone; data from when I played golf with my LG G Watch. Right now, all that data is siloed — there is no one central place to collect and analyze everything. Obviously, that sucks. Google Fit and Apple Health Kit are meant to be a solution but only works for Android devices and Apple devices respectively.

Microsoft’s pitch is that it will be multi-platform so customers and developers don’t have to worry about whether it’s Apple, Android or Windows — their data will continue to be gathered in one place.

It could work.

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