Microsoft Band Update Adds More Options for Golfers

An update to Microsoft's Band fitness wearable adds a tournament mode for golfers and more social sharing features.

Microsoft Band

Although Microsoft Band can track various health signals and activities, the device is shaping up as a wearable for golfers.

This week, Microsoft released new updates for the fitness wearable, including a new tournament setting for golfers. "An option right on your new Microsoft Band, Tournament Mode for Golf will allow you to play a round while sticking to United States Golf Association [USGA] rules for competitive play," said the Microsoft Devices group in a Feb. 18 announcement.

The new mode builds on the golfing features that Microsoft added to its Health companion app as part of the Band 2 launch last October.

Golfers can enable automatic shot detection, which differentiates between practice swings and the real thing. "When I walk up to the tee box, it actually knows what tee I'm at; the distance to the green; the calories I've spent and my heartrate. It's like having your own virtual golf caddy," said Lindsey Matese, senior public relations manager for Microsoft Band and Health, onstage during an Oct. 6 hardware event in New York.

Now, Band-wearing golf enthusiasts can have a virtual USGA experience of their own as they hit the links. "The band will still track your round of play and your health activity, but hide your step count, distance and heart rate during your round, then have a summary waiting for you in the Microsoft Health app and dashboard upon completion."

Also new this month are new social sharing options, Microsoft announced. The company made adjustments "to the Microsoft Band's sharing experience, making it even easier to earn your friends' congratulations—or envy—when you share your best activity summaries on Facebook, Twitter and in email or text messages," stated Microsoft's staffers. "After a calorie-blasting workout, epic bike ride or the best night's sleep you can remember, share a snapshot of your summary. Your friends can click through to a public dashboard that includes even more of your impressive stats."

Band's guided workout feature has gained the ability to track distance using both GPS and the device's step counter.

"You'll get a notification when you reach a distance goal during a Guided Workout that includes running, walking or biking, and the display shows your distance decrease as you move. That, and you can train indoors or out—your Microsoft Band will track your distance with the pedometer if you don't have GPS activated," said Microsoft's staffers.

Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant, has expanded on her repertoire beyond setting reminders or alerting users to updates. By linking Cortana to a Microsoft Health Account, she "will show your activity progress from your band, including steps and calories, and provide comparisons to the day prior," they added.

"Whether you're using a Windows 10 device or Cortana on iOS or Android, you can keep up with your progress easily," continued the Microsoft Devices team. Branching out from its Windows-based roots, Cortana became available for iOS and Android on Dec. 9.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...