Microsoft announced the second generation of the Microsoft Band at its event earlier today, a small update adding a new, more functional design and two sensors to track elevation and VO2 monitoring.
The design of the new Microsoft Band has no rigid edges, and features a curved LED display made from durable Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The screen is scratch- and water-resistant and boasts related IP68 certifications, making it an excellent all-weather device.
Two new sensors have been fitted inside the Microsoft Band; a barometer to check elevation changes in real time for hiking and mountain climbing, and a VO2 monitor that lets users know their maximum rate of oxygen consumption. VO2 monitoring is usually only available on high-end watches and fitness devices, making its inclusion a rather impressive feat for the Microsoft Band.
All of the features available in the first version of the Band are back in the second, including GPS mapping, guided workouts, sleep counters and notifications for your favorites apps. It will work with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices, and Microsoft Health will be available on all three of the platforms.
The new Microsoft Band also has Cortana integration, enabling users to find health and other information without touching the display. If you miss a workout, Cortana will remind you and help you to reschedule. Apps like Uber, Facebook, and Lose It are all integrating with the new wearable and with Cortana, allowing users to order a cab, post a status, or even pay for a Subway meal.
For golf fans, the new Microsoft Band is capable of automatic shot detection and offers a scorecard, letting the user track their scores and swings. This functionality should be coming to more sports in the future, allowing hobbyists to train more effectively.
The Microsoft Band will be available for $249, with shipping slated to start on October 30.