Microsoft Band 3 Prototype Finds Its Way To the Web

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 45 Comments

band3

Well this is certainly bittersweet, a Band 3 prototype has surfaced and it shows what could have been if Microsoft hadn’t canceled the project. The device, which you can see in the images above and below show off new features but unfortunately, this device is unlikely to ever be released by the company.

This Band 3 prototype is said to be waterproof, feature an EKG sensor that could monitor blood pressure and also had an RFID chip inside as well.  On the software side, there is a swim tile that could track laps in a pool and you can see another beta tile that appears to be related to the blood pressure and heart rate sensors.

In the image with the tiles, there’s what looks like a small camera lens but this is likely the light sensor that is currently in the Band 2. I can’t imagine why Microsoft would put a camera in something like this and seeing as the Band 2 has the same sensor in the same spot, it’s safe to assume that this is not a new feature.

band3tiles

The real question is why did Microsoft sideline this project. I asked around and haven’t gotten any definitive answers but have heard whispers of the quality of the actual band of the device was an issue and that this device doesn’t fit into the company’s overall mission was also questioned as well. Don’t get me wrong, the Band was a great fitness device but it was also a bit of an outlier for the company as it didn’t run Windows 10 nor did it align with the company’s overall mission; further, hardware typically has low margins which may have been another contributing factor.

These images were posted over at Windows Central and unless the leaker decides to post more images or let someone get their hands on the device, this may be the best look we get of the Band 3.

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Comments (45)

45 responses to “Microsoft Band 3 Prototype Finds Its Way To the Web”

  1. Avatar

    455

    I just don't get it.  While I appreciate that the sites I read and the twitter people I follow are skewed toward Microsoft and are usually technical people, I haven't read anything about the Band, in articles or comments or tweets, that's been negative other than the two problems they're having with the batteries and the "strap".  In fact, everything I read is overwhelmingly positive for (save the obvious trolls).  Now the presumed Band 3 seems like it would have only built on that and made it even more popular and appealing to people.  So why on earth cancel it?  Are non-ripping straps so hard to do that the only recourse was to bail on the whole thing?  They took how big of a write down on Surface hardware, but some ripping straps on a device that likely costs 1/4 of a Surface is too big of a risk?  Just fix the darn straps and release the 3!  How hard can it be??  Every other watch maker in the world doesn't have this problem, is Microsoft just somehow handicapped in it's access to materials the rest of the world is?

    I'm sure I'll get skewered for this, but the bottom line is, IN MY EXPERIENCE, nothing can touch the Band for wrist worn capability and accuracy.  I'm obviously trying replacements since it appears I must move on, but nothing works well.  The Garmin I'm currently testing is surprisingly inconsistent in it's heart rate readings and astronomically off in it's calorie burn counting.  Fitbit's just aren't serious enough, the Apple of the fitness watch world as I see it.  Great for people who never get off the couch, but (again, in my experience), lacking all the capabilities and features for those who are active.  Sure, I could get a chest strap and use it with my Garmin, or I could get one of those higher end watches that cost two to three times what the Band did...but why would I if there's a Band??

    Anyway.  This whole thing sucks.

    [/rant]

  2. Avatar

    711

    I was holding out for a Band 3. Haven't ever used a wearable...

    Seeing this now really pi$$es me off!

  3. Avatar

    1318

    While it would have been an evolutionary update at best, I liked the addition of the EKG sensor.  Too bad it'll never see the light of day.  On the other hand, if that's the same material for the wrist strap then it was a wise decision to can it.  It needs to have interchangeable straps at the very least.

    • Avatar

      1139

      In reply to SilentHero117:

      The biggest problem with the Band line was the battery being in the actual band (and the UV sensor in the 2), which was what prevented interchangeable bands. I did love the product line, though, and will continue to use my Band 2 until it falls apart.

      Microsoft's failure in the cosumer market is sad, from a consumer's standpoint. I had gotten used to having a Surface, Xbox, Band and Windows phone. Everything just worked together.

  4. Avatar

    1088

    As an owner of Band 1 & 2 - I would have loved the swimming capability.  It's sad MS cannot keep their products alive.  

    • Avatar

      699

      In reply to Cain69:

      me too! Band 3 was waterproof, change the faulty wrist Band and advertise the hell out of it. Pay rock stars to wear the damn thing and ADVERTISE!!! not too hard. Microsoft is pissing off all its hardcore loyal fan base and selling us down the shore for more lucrative business crap. Sad. Thanks Satya. You suck.

  5. Avatar

    457

    I have bought both Bands and they are really great. While most people use it for fitness, mine is mostly for the notifications. I like that I can check messages without pulling out my phone.

  6. Avatar

    4743

    I think it's entirely possible given how things have been worded ("There will be no Band 3 this year") that it might get updated for the spring.  I have had to replace every Band 2; the new ones are better, but reliability of the battery/strap have not been great.  If they were to sell on the order of fitbits or Apple Watches, then it could have been a disaster worse than SB/SP4/Skylake.  So, maybe they sensed they would still have a problem with this one.  Maybe they are waiting until they can really put win10 on it.  I am surprised, though, because I have loved my Band 2 (and Band 1).   They are better fitness wearables than anything else on the market for the money. 

  7. Avatar

    6517

    I'm disappointed that Microsoft is abandoning the Band. I have the Band 2. I had a fitbit HR. I have a Windows phone and fitbit didn't communicate with the Windows phone in the way the Band does.

    I have been in healthcare for over 20 years, in rural America. The quality and quantity of healthcare services in rural areas is inadequate. And change for the better is coming much too slow. I saw the band and other wearables as a positive sign that technology was emerging in a meaningful way that would help improve healthcare services in a cost effective way. As the devices improve relavent patient data could be fed to a monitoring system that would alert healthcare providers that a patient's healthcare statistics were deteriorating and changes in care strategies could be made in a timely manner. Some rural residents have large monitoring devices that are often unused because the technical expertise to manage the devices is not consistently available.

    I believe it is a market waiting to be developed because the cost of amputations, dialysis and frequent visits to the ER in distant hospitals will keep the cost of healthcare skyrocketing.

     

  8. Avatar

    5184

    Wow, really like where this was going! Throw in blood sugar monitoring and I'd pay twice as much as the Band 2 originally cost. 

    I love both my Bands, despite the band reliability issues. Sad it got canned.

    I don't see how this doesn't fit MS. It's a great showcase of their cloud offerings. Who cares if it doesn't run Windows. That's the same thinking that screwed over WP.

  9. Avatar

    699

    Ahh, man ;/ I am a HUGE MS Band fan. Use mine all the time, much better for fitness than the stupid Apple Watch. In fact, I've lost 35 pounds with mine these past few months using the guided workouts and different features. I'm sad the Band 3 won't be coming to market, it looks great. All they needed to do was make the actual wrist bands swappable and more durable, and I would have been Golden. Sad to see such a great looking product fall by the wayside. I'll still be wearing my Band 2 for a long time yet.

  10. Avatar

    209

    I disagree that it didn't fit into the company's overall mission - Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. One would think good health is an important part of that. I can't really imagine why it would be such a big deal if it didn't run Windows 10? Sure it would be nice, but the main reason for having Windows 10 on multiple devices is app compatibility, but you're really not going to run the same version of Cortana, Mail, etc. on the band as you do on phone, desktop/laptop/tablet anyway. Nor would one expect to run the swimming tracker or cycling tracker tiles/apps to work on your laptop or phone. I'm sure it all came down to money, which I get; but what it costs you by further disappointing users/fans and just not being in that space is more costly over the long run.

  11. Avatar

    5349

    I am on my second Band2. Love it. Will wear it as long as the strap lasts. Too bad there is not a Band3.

  12. Avatar

    277

    I really like the functionality of my band, but the the strap just disintegrated  around my display.  I taped it up with electrical tape, but was not very stylish.  Only thing that truly worked with wm10.    Huh! I now own two dead MS products.  Too bad I don't own a Zune.  I would have quite a nice start to a morbid MS collection.  Oh, and Brad's Kin.  Too bad.

  13. Avatar

    600

    I got thhere Band 2 for Fathers day this year, and I love it.

     

    Was looking forward to seeing what they would do with the 3, was very disappointed when I found out they canncelled it. Seeing this just fuels that dissapointment.

  14. Avatar

    165

    I have a band 2. Had the battery issue and they replaced it (and the screen guard). No issues since...

  15. Avatar

    3118

    So, at what point did Microsoft confirm there is never going to be a band 3? Did Paul or Brad get insider confirmation that I missed. Because everything I've read that was "officially" from Microsoft, only says " there will be no Band 3 in 2016" (I'm  paraphrasing here) but why can't that mean there will be one in 2017? Did I miss something? (Although I know MS liquidating their stock of Band 2 is not a good sign.)

  16. Avatar

    2456

    Why have surface mini images never leaked?

    • Avatar

      5530

      In reply to DocPaul:

      Because most of the people that have seen the Surface Mini are journalists like Paul, Tom Warren, and Daniel Rubino that don't want to burn bridges with Microsoft. Paul even knew about the Surface Pro 3 before the announcement but Paul held back because he "respects the desire for the Surface team to tell their story". On the other hand, the Microsoft Band 3 is leaked by a random forum poster who has nothing to lose.

  17. Avatar

    2592

    "further, hardware typically has low margins which may have been another contributing factor."

     

    IF that's the case, why continue making the Surface line of products? That reasoning makes no sense.

    • Avatar

      1139

      In reply to shameermulji:

      The Surface line's original and continuing intent is to push OEMs to create high-quality and innovative products. With the small market share the Surface actually has, it's barely a "success story" in terms of a product line, but it created a whole new product category that's much-needed life support for the flagging home computer market.

  18. Avatar

    850

    Dumping the Band was the final straw for me to cheerlead for Microsoft. I became a Microsoft only user (Surface Book, SP3, Lumia 950 XL and Band 2). What will MSFT abandone next?

  19. Avatar

    1139

    I thought the point of the Band 3 was that it was supposed to run Windows 10 IOT, which was the whole point of the Band line? Whatever. Microsoft gave up on us, so I'm past given up on them.

  20. Avatar

    5496

    Maybe they lied and said they were canceling it. When in reality, they aren't.

  21. Avatar

    4273

    I would have loved to have this with Blood Pressure and Swimming! I would pay nearly any amount if somebody comes up with a way to do blood glucose. I've said this before. This could be an enterprise solution. Make a band that can replace my proximity security badge and/or the RSA fob I have to carry around. The only issue I have with Band 2 is the tearing band which I fixed with electrical tape.

  22. Avatar

    5447

    This makes me sad, I love my Band 2 (despite some weird battery life issues which seem to have resolved). I just got a software update for the Band 2 today, so they are still working on the product.

    What other wearable would we go to?

  23. Avatar

    5721

    In true MS fashion, they create a product with design flaws, then a second one with the same flaws and wonder why people stop buying them, instead of replacing the team that can't produce and get a solid product out to the public, they cancel the product and declare "we can't make money at this".  I hate to say it, but there are too many idiots in charge at MS.

  24. Avatar

    3355

    I loved my Band 2 and would have updated especially for blood pressure. I never had a problem with the strap which I heard some did. Everytime I get a Microsoft device they drop it. I had a Zune, now the Band and Windows phone 950xl. I love my Surface Pro 3 too, I wonder when that will go the way of the rest. So sad.

     

     

  25. Avatar

    514

    I could see getting the blood pressure thing to work reliably could be an issue.  Waterproof quality could also be a problem.  I also wonder when health monitoring facilities become so sophisticated that they run afoul of federal health regulatory bodies (although getting medicare to pay for a band would be nice :grin).

  26. Avatar

    326

    One less basket for Microsoft to put its eggs on, sad.

  27. Avatar

    5485

    MS fans will always be disappointed by any MS "Discontinuity". Still what I notice is that Windows is natively becoming more and more isolated in terms of quality apps and services. In other words, its becoming mainly a platform to use MS services (Office, ....). If it was not for the browser and web apps/sites ... 

  28. Avatar

    5530

    I bet Microsoft abandoned the Band 3 because it ran it's own custom firmware with using it's own SDK that had no tie-ins with UWP/OneCore. In essence I guess you could say it was the failiure to get Windows 10 IOT to work on this thing that probably killed it.

  29. Avatar

    114

    Bummer.  Loving my apple watch 2 for swimming and would have liked to see MS continue to push in this arena.

  30. Avatar

    5428

    If that thing really had blood pressure monitoring (can't quite see how) I would have snapped one up!  I have some blood pressure issues which are in part "white coat hypertension" and an unobtrusive 24hr blood pressure monitor would be like winning the lottery.

  31. Avatar

    6518

    Anyone remember the Timex Datalink? Maybe Microsoft should partner with another company like Timex to build the hardware...

  32. Avatar

    5539

    Does it work with the McClaren or Surface Mini?

  33. Avatar

    229

    Well, if history is any lesson I would suspect the quality of the physical device itself. I went through 3 Band 1's and two Band 2's due to the straps breaking, battery issues, etc. Great software, decent screen, horrible strap and, finicky battery. (FWIW, my much maligned Apple Watch (On Thurrott.com :) has performed flawlessly for the last six months.)  The "Band" typifies much of whats wrong at Microsoft - build something functional, very useful and otherwise "nice" then wound it with a bunch of agravating flaws. Reminds me of my grandson's HS go to college gift - a SP3 with multitple battery problem - but I digress.

  34. Avatar

    thesmartestonearth

    This is the first time I heard about Microsoft Band

    Hah! It is an amazon choice...

    I found the best fitness band...

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