It wasn't the best of times or the worst of times. But 2016 was a notable year for the personal technology we cover here at Thurrott.com.
Recent Microsoft-Band Stories
In 2016, Microsoft took decisive steps away from its traditional roots and embraced a more open future in the cloud.
Nearly three weeks after we first broke the story, Microsoft has confirmed that it will not ship a Microsoft Band 3 wearable in 2016. It also confirmed that it had fire-saled Band 2 throughout the year in order to clear out remaining inventory.
With Windows 10 version 1607, Microsoft has expanded the Windows Hello authentication technologies to include support for companion devices. That we knew. But those companion devices, surprisingly, will include both Android and iPhone handsets.
Microsoft is renaming its Microsoft Health app on Android, iPhone and Windows phone to Microsoft Band, ostensibly because it's a more obvious name for customers. But then, that's the problem: There are no customers.
Yesterday, Brad exclusively revealed Microsoft's plans to retreat from its Band efforts: The firm won't ship a Band 3 this year, and will almost certainly never do so. Now what?
Today, Fitbit announced major updates to what it calls its most iconic fitness trackers. The new Fitbit Charge 2 adds more health and fitness features, while the new Flex 2 is now "swim-proof".
Tech tidbits from around the web: the Microsoft Band 2 fire sale continues, "Any developer" will be able to upload apps for Xbox One to the store "soon", Microsoft is updating Windows 10 again, and whether Microsoft's Bing bet is starting to pay off.
Tech tidbits from around the web: Microsoft is adding a wheelchair for Xbox Live avatars, Samsung S Health now integrates with Microsoft Health, Almost half of Steam gamers use Windows 10, terrible Amazon app disappears from Windows Phone, more.
Here's some good news for Band 2 users who wish to participate in high-intensity interval training: Microsoft's wearable is getting an updated this week to support real-time heart rate zone notifications.
Samsung's attack on Google continued this week with the consumer electronics giant announcing two new fitness wearables that are based on Tizen rather than Android. But to be fair, Tizen may be better suited for the lower functional requirements of these devices than it is, say, for a full-featured smart watch.
The Microsoft Health app for Android is being updated today, adding support for the Cortana digital personal assistant. Yes, that means that you can now use Cortana on your Band 2.
Microsoft held month-long sales on its Band 2 fitness wearable for each of the past three months, lowering the effective price of the device by $75 to $175. And today, Microsoft is once again putting Band 2 on sale. But this time, the special pricing lasts longer than it has before.
Last week in the article Fixing Microsoft Band, I listed several ways in which I think Microsoft should improve its wearable device. But in doing so, I realized that theFitbit Alta already did pretty much everything I wanted. How does this wearable compare to Microsoft Band 2 overall?
With Spring belatedly making its appearance in my corner of the world, I've been walking more again. And as I did so this morning, I started thinking about how I'd update Microsoft Band 2, the wearable I use and recommend. What should a Microsoft Band 3 be like?
For the third month in a row, Microsoft has discounted its Band 2 wearable by $75, bringing the price temporarily to an affordable $175. This is a great price for the Band 2, which is still my favorite wearable, and the one I use every day.
Tech tidbits from around the web: Surface Book and Pro 4 are now Solid Edge certified, Windows Health UWP app is coming to Windows 10, Google takes on Microsoft's mid-sized business customers, Nokia buys Withings for some reason, more.
Tech tidbits from around the web: Microsoft Band 2 is on sale again, the first Gears of War 4 trailer drops, Quantum Break is "biggest selling, new Microsoft Studios IP this generation", the HTC 10 leaks, the economics of cloud computing, and Daily Mail is apparently interested in Yahoo too.
A few tech tidbits from around the web: How I spent my weekend, a Surface Book sale, HTC blames Microsoft for not including the One M8 in the Windows 10 Mobile upgrade list, a great article about Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and some headline riffs.
It's been a while since I wrote about my business travel setup, so here's a quick peek at the technology I'm bringing on the road this week as I travel to San Francisco for Build 2016.
Thanks to a coming update to the Microsoft Health mobile app, Microsoft Band users will be able to compete with their friends on Facebook using new social challenges and leaderboards.
My wife Stephanie—admittedly non-technical, but very interested in health and nutrition—started using a Microsoft Band 2 in late December. At my request, she's provided her own feedback on this wearable device, based on about three months of usage. Here it is.
A few tidbits from around the web: Microsoft may compensate customers for Xbox Live outages, a recent Band 2 update also provides True Type font rendering, of mobile platforms, app usage and battery life, andWaze gets an improved UI on Android.
A new update for Microsoft Band 2 adds an optional auto-pause feature that pauses tracking when you take a break during a run or bike ride.
Mary Jo Foley has confirmed rumors that Microsoft is delaying a major Windows 10 milestone release---currently codenamed Redstone 2---from late 2016 to early 2017. The new date is timed to a coming wave of new Microsoft Windows 10 hardware.
Band 2 users can keep track of their daily fitness goals in Cortana by connecting their Microsoft Health account to Microsoft's personal digital assistant. Here's how to do so.
A few tidbits for a Saturday morning: We're having a meet-up Monday night in Redmond, what to do now that Slysoft has been shut down, a new high-end lifestyle shopping experience for gadget fans, Apple just killed my 401K, and Google Inbox courts Mailbox users too.