5 Things Microsoft Can Do To Improve the Band 2 ? And it is all about the software, mostly

gbafam

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Band 2 is an improvement over band. I haven't found the step count to be wildly inaccurate; in fact, in my experience, it's pretty consistent and that might be more important than counting every last step; attempting to do that carries its own price.

I agree with GSOgymrat. The runtastic pro app for the windows phone is great. But no integration with the Band--I assume has something to do with Runtastic's own fitness tracker. I wonder if there is a way to export my runtastic data to Microsoft health or runkeeper or whatever. I really prefer runtastic but I'm not optimistic about a band 2/runtastic deal anytime soon.

One area of great potential is the taylormade golf tile. Right now, that tile is a really good yardage scorekeeping tool. They are promising more analytics but how that would work isn't clear. Enormous potential, though, at a very competitive price point. We'll see.
 

haleme

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Lots of great responses. Glad i am not alone in my thoughts and impressions with the Band 2. I was not writing this to bag on the Band and the Health ecosystem, but rather to start a conversation about what Microsoft can do to improve an already great device.

I agree with just about all the comments around the steps, but if you believe my wife and I both have defective Bands, please read through the 24 pages of complaints about the inaccurate step counting on Microsoft site: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/...curately/fa58db56-14c3-45de-b287-8d621ae0f2e1

DroidUser42, I agree the Fitbit counts things it should not, but the Band misses stuff it should get. The real key here is MSFT needs to either admit to a defect and propose either a fix or tell us it will not fix the issue, or craft a proper message around steps, how the Band counts steps and when steps are not counted.

I'll be wearing the Band 2 and a Fitbit Zip for a few days to see where the differences occur and will post my unscientific findings here.
 

DeNachtwacht

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Hi haleme, pretty long article from your hand with some good suggestions but I don't agree with the first two that you propose. I'll explain why:

1. Though the step counting could definately be improved, I have read in a review that microsoft deliberately has choosen to use this algorhythm because a lot of the other trackers ouround there (Xiamo Mi, Fitbit Surge et) in fact are really overestimating the steps you've taken, while the MS band just shows a little less steps than you've taken each day. Which would you prefer: a device that makes you happy with wrong high step countings, or a device that's much more accurate but just a little on the low side?
2. Though a battery saver could be a good idea (has been proposed a lot here already), what you suggest seems rather useless to me. I think most people, like I do, wear the band for heart rate monitoring and notifications. Your suggestion of turning this all off makes the band nothing more than a stepcounter watch, which could be bought for $25 . But what could be done: a battery saving mode which sets haptic alerts & screen brightness to low, and turns watch mode and activity reminder off. These things save some battery (especially watch mode) but are not the real core functions of the band in my opinion.


But an idea I really like is competing against each other, XBox real life achievements, how cool would that be ;)
 
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Chris_Kez

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Nice thread. I'll chime in after having used Band 1 for a year and Band 2 for two weeks. In regards to the OP's five points:
1) Step count: I frequently notice that the Band misses steps, and it usually seems to miss short bursts. On walks I've seen it "catch up" to some degree- it realizes I'm walking and the step count will have a noticeable jump then start recording each pair of steps. I'm sure they're tested a lot of algorithms, maybe they could let users adjust the sensitivity or something. I appreciate the notion of going for a more accurate, if lower, count and focusing on consistency but it is also maddening to be walking and watch the counter not move at all.

2) Battery Saver: I'd be fine with as long as it is configurable. Provide checkboxes for HRM, screen brightness, GPS, individual notifications (not too bad since there are so few possible tiles), sensors (where possible), step count, etc. Let users decide which things are most critical to keep active in low-power mode. Personally, I'd keep text and incoming call notifications over everything else. While I'd of course like more battery life I don't have any problem with routine charging.

3) Status Bar: honestly I've never paid any attention to this beyond occasionally checking battery bar.

4) Gameification: how in the world has MS done nothing here? IIRC, this project team includes folks from Xbox (and may have originated with them). Maybe they still see Band as a showcase for sensor technology to license to OEMs, but in the meantime they have active users looking for this stuff. And it is fun. Adding achievements and Xbox points at a minimum seems like a good idea. I recently read about an app/service that lets people compete across devices (Fitbit, Band, Jawbone, Garmin, etc.).

5) Developers: I don't see development taking off in any big way until the Band is running W10 IoT rather than a custom firmware. I hope we'll hear an update at Build this spring. Once that happens I expect we'll get more fun stuff.

Just a few other thoughts...
-I think MS does have a dedicated team, and they're constantly evaluating all this stuff and the competition; it's just hard, and they're not going to have the same resources as the Office team.
-I'm surprised no one has mentioned the lack of "actionable insights". MS toured the idea that they'd see how you have an elevated heart rate before a particular weekly meeting and suggest things to improve it (as one example). That by coupling all of this sensor data to everything else they know about you (calendar, email, location, Cortana notebook, etc.) they could use drop machine learning to uncover insights and make smart observations and recommendations. Well, they haven't delivered any of that. It took them until Band 2 just to add a notification to get up off your butt.
-I'd like a Phone tile that showed me battery life, WiFi status, network status,, etc.
-I want Band to work over WiFi as well as Bluetooth so I can wear it around the house or Office and leave my phone at my desk.
 

DeNachtwacht

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-I want Band to work over WiFi as well as Bluetooth so I can wear it around the house or Office and leave my phone at my desk.
That's unfortunately something that can be added to the "great, but bad idea" list. Simply because using wifi drains your battery a lot faster than bluetooth, this would mean battery life of about 8 hours or so I guess..
 

Mark de Vries

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Hi there, great thread this is ! Enjoyed reading it and thought to chime in. I have my Band 2 now for a week (bought it via via as it is not available over here in The Netherlands) and must admit I am impressed by it on most points. I owe several of the "usual" suspects: fitbit charge HR, Garmin Vivosmart HR as well as a MioFuse. The Band 2 for sure has the best X factor of the lot. I think the screen is marvellous as is that part of the band. The clasp side is something I do not get: I just can not get a comfy feeling although I must admit I get used to it. But still, that bulky clasp part is something that could do from a rethinking. Some other thoughts:
Stepcounting. I agree that the Band 2 probably underestimates the stepcount but on the other hand, comparing all above mentioned devices there is a huge range between them. The Mio has the lowest, the Fitbit the higest, and the band2 and Garmin somewhere in between. I tend to think that the Band and Garmin proably will be close the real count but then again, I never tested this with a foodpod or something similar.
Battery. Yes, indeed.....just two days a short and should be better. A battery saver is one thing but the basis could be improved for sure. Other replies demonstrate several options and I ahev nothing to add.
Waterproof. This is a tricky thing, I know, but being able to wear the Band 2 in the shower or whith a swim would be great. Not a huge issue but that is a great plus for the vivosmartHR.
Sleep registration & heartrate monitoring. Like stepcounting, something that has a great variation between the devices. No clue which is closest to the reality. Only the Mio Fuse comes almost on par with a chest strap HRM and my primary use for teh Fuse is just for that: recording HR during running. How the other devices, incl the Band2 perform ? No clue. Most will perform pretty well over all but only the Mio will catch up with sudden HR changes as quick as the chest strap. None of the other catch up as fast so will not give a correct pulse duing intervals for instance. At least I do not count on them for that.
GPS. As I wear the band 2 also as a fitness device, I have it on my wrist whilst running. However, after turning on GPS it takes just too long for the Band to lock on the satelite. Garmin is the fastest. Not sure if this could be improved by just a software update of needs some hardware upgrades ?
As for apps, notifications: I like it as it is just for now. If I get a notification on my Band, I glance at it and if I think it is omportant enough I just grab my phone which is always within bluetooth range to respond. I found two apps to change the look and feel of my Band a bit which is just fine for me. I agree though that cross platform apps would be great with the addition of Band specific tiles. It can only get better !
A remark on the social aspect. I agree on that one. On the other hand, here on WPC was a mentioning of inkin.com. Seems you can couple your fitbit, garmin as well as band to that so there is way to compete. Just signep up so will need some time to find out what it is.
 

kansokusha

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The Band 2 is inaccurate in tracking steps. I have the fitbit charge HR and I've been wearing both since I got the Band 2.

The Band 2 will only register steps if your arm is swinging. if you like to read holding a book, a tablet or your phone while walking it will register ZERO steps. if you have your hands in your pockets while walking, it will register ZERO steps. if you hold on to anything while walking (a handrail for example) it will register ZERO steps. anything less than an arm swing will not register.

as an all day activity tracker, steps are the most important feature, and it is a disappointment on the Band 2.

MS should add an option to adjust the sensitivity. for people who already walk a lot, they need the device to be really sensitive. for couch potatoes, they should set it to lower sensitivity.

I hope MS fixes this soon, as I really like the Band 2, and don't want to go back to the fitbit :straight:
 

philxor

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This isn't entirely true. I just did a test around my office to test your theory. I counted 90 steps round trip to/from my destination. With my hands jammed in my pockets and my arms as rigid as possible, it registered 56 steps. Walking normally with my arms out it registered 92 steps. So there is some merit to your theory and I would agree they should have some way to adjust the sensitivity of some of the aspect contributing to the algorithm. However, to say it counts zero steps is false.


The Band 2 is inaccurate in tracking steps. I have the fitbit charge HR and I've been wearing both since I got the Band 2.

The Band 2 will only register steps if your arm is swinging. if you like to read holding a book, a tablet or your phone while walking it will register ZERO steps. if you have your hands in your pockets while walking, it will register ZERO steps. if you hold on to anything while walking (a handrail for example) it will register ZERO steps. anything less than an arm swing will not register.

as an all day activity tracker, steps are the most important feature, and it is a disappointment on the Band 2.

MS should add an option to adjust the sensitivity. for people who already walk a lot, they need the device to be really sensitive. for couch potatoes, they should set it to lower sensitivity.

I hope MS fixes this soon, as I really like the Band 2, and don't want to go back to the fitbit :straight:
 

cj-m

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Yes, in support of philxor's response, there is a good reason for under-estimation as there is the possibility of less false steps counted (think brushing teeth, shaving, combing your hair, etc).

For me the Fitbit One was off by 10 steps per 100, the Garmin Vivofit was literally spot on with steps - due mainly in part to being able to calibrate your own stride - and I have found that the MB 2 has a similar 10 step variance to the Fitbit One.
This is kind of variance is not a big deal and besides, there is no gold standard for fitness trackers.
 

jwpear

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Both my Band 1 and Band 2 count less steps compared to my Fitbit Charge. My Bands average about 1500 steps less than the Charge. I find that the Charge is entirely too generous in awarding steps. It's annoying, except when I'm doing step challenges with friends. I have and wear the Charge only for the purpose of doing challenges with friends and family. It would be great if I could do challenges with the Band, including Fitbit users.

I feel that Fitbit is now the standard, despite being overly generous with steps. If any other tracker is significantly off, it will be judged as being inaccurate. It would be nice if we could adjust the step counting sensitivity.

Completely agree on the Health app UI. I've always felt it needed some work, especially the dashboard. The Fitbit app dashboard is much more pleasant and informative, despite only being slightly more info rich.

While we're putting things on the wish list, I'd love to see the Health app provide useful info on a live tile. For example, graph of weekly steps, calories, etc.
 

TennisGuy45

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LOL at whining about the band not giving you steps for movement that IS NOT STEPS.
Yes it is slightly conservative but not drastically.
I did a 6 mile run simultaneously using my Band 2 and MapMyRun app on an android phone strapped to my arm to see the variances.
When my Band 2 ticked across 6 miles worth of steps my Android phone running MapMyRun registered 6.2 miles.
Which one is correct? Probably neither but a 2/10 mile difference in 6 miles is not huge.

Someone is whining that they cannot change the individual tile color in the Health app?? LOL seriously, like that is a selling factor.
How many other apps (regardless of platform) dont let you change their color scheme????? (hint countless) I bet you use Facebook and dont whine about it.

The competition between friends would be nice but that can be achieved through the linked fitness app capabilities. You can link your band to more than a few supported fitness apps and those offer the competition between friends.

Not mentioned here but in another thread is the ability to control your camera with the Band 2.
I would love a feature like this so when I am wanting to do a group picture I would be able to set the frame then go get in it and snap the picture off with a press of the screen on my Band.
 

hamphlet

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I'm a Band 2 owner and I'm happy with it up to a point. Battery life isn't as good as Band 1 and that's a surprise to me. Overall though I'm pleased with it. I do agree with the point made about the ecosystem/community vs the likes of Fitbit. I cannot compete against my Fitbit wearing friends. The Fitbit website has fun challenges where people can join in and compete against each other. It's more about fun, community and bringing people together. There are about 8 people in my fitness club who wear Fitbits and their constant banter about their latest challenges has forced my hand into buying a cheap second hand Flex just to be able to join in. Aside from the Fitbits there are a number of Jawbone wearers at the club. I'm the only Band wearer and that's out of over 30 of us. It tells a tale.

Edit - Just spotted Tennis Guy's comments about competition through linked apps and websites. Don't you how many of my Fitbit wearing friends would be prepared to go through the argy bargy of all that when they're already very happy and amused by the challenges on Fitbit's own app. I was already aware of a site called Inkin which is for cross platform comparison, but it's getting everyone else to go along with you that's the problem. So I don't necessarily agree with that. I do however agree with most of his other comments :)
 

skiflyer

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Every one is going to have a different five. That's the one bummer about the closed firmware system of the band, we get what they give us.

That said, #1 on my list is that I wish they'd open up the microphone to non-Windows Phone users. I'd love to use it for OK Google, and I'd even consider using it for Cortana on Android.

Regarding battery saver, it's a poor substitute but if you flip on either Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode you get a massive increase in battery life. Obviously at the cost of reduced functionality, but I've used them on occasion when I'm away from the charger and low on juice.
 

SorenCG

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I don't mind the conservative step counting. Going for a walk or run, or playing tennis is what I think should really count. But, some times I find that my band completely stops counting steps. I'll walk around for 15 minutes and the steps stop regestering. I have to turn the band off and on to make it count again.
 

indiW

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Take a look at this for poor step counts
At work phone in my pocket


Xmas party (on the dance floor)
2016-01-06 06.13.49.jpg

The gap is not acceptable

Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
 

TennisGuy45

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I think #1 on the list for Microsoft should be notification synchronization between phone and band.

If I clear a notification on one device it should clear the other. Doing double clears of notifications becomes old.

This should be a simple fix as well.
 

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