As the wearables space heats up, competition for Fitbit, the market leader, is coming in from all sides. According to market research company Argus Insights, Microsoft is at the forefront of those smaller competitors who are excelling at “consumer delight.” Even so, Fitbit is still the 800-pound gorilla with consumer mindshare and a strong product lineup.
Microsoft received a considerable about of attention when it released the Microsoft Band together with its Health platform. Rather than treading the smartwatch route to which Apple and Google have committed, it has instead chosen to focus on delivering a fitness-tracking experience with deep, actionable insights. Microsoft promises to do this by collecting large amounts of data – calories burned, sleep efficiency, and the like – from the Band’s numerous sensors, then analyzing that data in the cloud for a more holistic view of a person’s health. The Health platform is also open to any company who wants to hook into it, which theoretically should be a boon to Microsoft’s initiative into the fitness space. If the plan works, Microsoft Health could become the backbone for consumer health-tracking, whether they wear a Band, Fitbit, or anything else.