Microsoft has reached a major milestone in its bid to gather support for the company's health and fitness tracking wearable, the Band.
The company has released the Band SDK (software development kit) preview and sample code for iOS, Apple's mobile operating system, a month after releasing versions for Android and Windows Phone. The SDK includes app personalization features and provides third-party developers with access to the Band's many sensors, including a heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS.
The SDK for iOS, along with some sample code, is available at the Microsoft Health for Developers Website.
An early supporter of Microsoft's efforts to drum up third-party support for its wearable is Xamarin, a provider of cross-platform mobile development tools and cloud-based testing services. Xamarin developers build their apps in the mobile-friendly C# programming language, and then are able to distribute those apps to iOS, Android and Windows devices while maintaining the same code base. In October, the company joined with IBM to help Xamarin developers build multi-device apps for the enterprise.
"The iOS preview joins their preview support for Android and Windows Phone, and we're delighted to announce that within 24 hours of release, we've made these SDKs available to Xamarin developers on iOS and Android, too," Matthew Leibowitz, a developer for Xamarin, wrote in a company blog. For those wading into wearable app development, there's more to the Microsoft Band than its sensor-laden, fitness-centric feature set, he teased.
"The Band is very much designed for health and fitness with its many sensors, but it is not limited to health uses. Because we have access to the sensors and can interact with the device, we can use the Band to enhance and extend any mobile app," Leibowitz said. Examples include sending messages to the wearable and collecting data from the Band's sensors.
Microsoft launched Band in October with a price tag of $199. The fitness monitor, which features a 1.4-inch color touch-screen display meant to be worn on the inner wrist, quickly sold out and remained scarce during the crucial holiday shopping season. Last week, the company announced that it was ramping up shipments and expanding its distribution network to meet demand.
"We are excited to announce that we will expand our presence in the U.S. retail channel with the addition of three new retail partners—Amazon, Best Buy and Target," Matt Barlow, general manager of New Devices at Microsoft, said in a March 17 statement. "They will begin selling product today, with increased shipments planned for the weeks and months ahead."
Prior to the announcement, the fitness tracker was exclusively available through Microsoft Stores. Barlow also pledged to boost inventory levels at Microsoft's own retail locations and said that the Band will be heading to the United Kingdom on April 15. And just in time.