/ Microsoft Band

The not so obvious facts about the Band

Image of Band and phone
Today has been Band day.
The day where Microsoft launched a new product without ANY build up, they simply launched it, had it in the store and people started talking about it.

There's been some info that has been popping up all over the place. And some info that has just been seen on some places (though very much official)

I've tried to collect some of what I think is the more interesting tidbits here.

Waterproof?

Image of water
I've heard a lot of people talking about that it's splashproof and waterresistant. But not waterproof. The thing is that if you go here you can find some more exact details on this.
Such as the fact that it got IP67, IP6X and IPX7

The IP standard works in such a way that the first number specifies how dust resistant it is and the second number how water (or liquid) resistant it is. If we read the specifications we find out that the Microsoft Band got the highest IP rating for dust but the third highest for water:

Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).

This test is according to wikipedia carried out during a 30 min period. Aka, the Microsoft Band has been submerged in water (max 1m) for a period of 30minutes without being damaged at all.
There are no details if the device needs to be turned on or functioning during this test. But no harmful quantity can't enter the device atleast.

Another point on that Microsoft support side clearly states:
Microsoft Band is intended for indoor/outdoor use in the presence of rain, snow, or brief splashes of water.

After reading that page I don't feel any scared about wearing the product almost all the time except when I'm doing a water activity.
However all the ratings Microsoft still has these kinds of statements:
If your Microsoft Band gets wet, promptly dry it with a clean, soft cloth

But I guess that's just to be on the safe side. And since I bought the "Complete" protection I might just try it out to see what happens when I shower with it some time. (when I eventually get it)

EDIT: As CristianCson pointed out on twitter the IP67 rating is the normal rating for watches. It usually means that they can survive water, but doesn't mean they can survive pressure.
Up to one meter still is not the same pressure as if you're moving the watch around. It's a very good point. But the rating still makes me confident that I can use it without being totally scared of the water.

Why this strange and silent launch

Big image of the band
This is a very interesting question in my book!
We're used to stuff launching first in the US, but for me it's different this time. Normally it's a product that has been unveiled long before. The details about the product, it's capabilities, and launch dates/markets are known well in advance.
This time was different, by my watch the first news started popping up at about 00:00 (GMT) and when I woke up 08:00(GMT) the buzz had started. But nobody really knew anything...

Could it be that it was just hastefully lanunched so that they could keep the rumoured October launch? Nah... How could they then have it in all MS-stores just hours after.

Why wasn't there a big PR-machine going on for this thing?
I think I have a pretty good idea why:

This is a test

Woman reading a book wearing the Band
The first idea is that this is just a test. Not just a test for the product but for a lot of things. A test of how these kinds of PR attempts work.
Instead of sending out demo units to journalists, they have been driving to the nearest stores to get one for themselves.
That does sound like a marketing success if you ask me...

But this is not only a PR test, this is more than not a test for the device itself. Like David Pierce wrote on The Verge:

He [Yusuf Mehdi] is trying to keep expectations low, telling me how early Microsoft is in this process, but he can’t mask his excitement at the sheer size of this project. And he clearly thinks his team is already well down the right road.

This is a well thought out product, but It's not yet for everyone. It's for the ones that gets excited by this (which seems to be a lot right now).

But this new line of Microsoft products that we're about to see might get developed in much the same way as Windows 10 is right now. They have a good basic prototype product. It does a few things really well, introduces a couple of new things but isn't really using everything it can right now. They will use the product and it's users to make it better, to improve on it until it will be ready enough for everyone. And then they will bring out the big PR drum.

To take another quote from that article: "The team isn’t even sure which features they’ll keep on the Band itself."
Remember that the device actually got 10 sensors, I haven't seen a single demo or article that could show all of them and what they do. (seriously what does a skin sensor do?)
This might really well be a product that will gets loads of firmware updates, and also some darn good SDKs (this is Microsoft after all).

The only downside I see right now is that we currently doesn't have any SDKs at all to play around with. So the Band seems a bit locked at them moment. Except the fact that it talks to ALL of the three major platforms ;) (SWEEET!!)

Is it a rushed product?

Man and woman wearing the Band working at office
Nope.

They started working on this thing back in 2010. So I don't think it's rushed at all. And it really seems like the people that worked on this didn't just work on another product for a company. They worked on a great idea that they fully endorsed themselves and something that they put all thier heart in to develop.
(they built a gym in the office just to test it out frequently enough).

If you're still not convinced I think you should read this excellent article/story from a journalist that hang out with the creators of the band at a gym.
It's well written, a joy to read and got a lot of good info in there (a little bit biased though since it's from http://news.microsoft.com)

Conclusion

Big image of Band
So just some final thoughts.
I get the feeling that this could be like Microsoft launching a new Surface. They have been working on it for a couple of years, it's all been very secret but they do got a long stretched plan for the product already.

I've ordered my own which I hope will arrive sometime next week. And then I've told myself that I'm not going to buy the second generation but wait for the third (again comparing it to the Surface family).

//Fabian Miiro

All photos taken from the Microsoft New Center except the water photo which is by Uwe Hermann and shared under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license

EDIT1: Added some points about the water resistance after a tweet from CristianCson.