Microsoft Ditches Fitness Band SDK
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Wednesday, 02 November 2016

Microsoft is backing out of the fitness band market, and has also discontinued its Band SDK.

Microsoft had a range of products in the line, starting with the physical band and the associated Band SDK. This was a Windows Phone SDK designed to let developers write apps for Band and to provide a way to use Band data with external apps. As of last month, both the band and the SDK have been discontinued.




The other elements of the range include Microsoft Health, a data store used for storing data (mainly from the Microsoft Band App), along with tools to access it. The Microsoft Band App for phones has until recently been known as Microsoft Health App, and it provides the link between data from the band and Microsoft Health. The final element is Microsoft HealthVault, which combines a data store for health information from fitness devices from Microsoft and other suppliers.

All Microsoft's Bands have been removed from the Microsoft online store, and the online SDK pages have a banner announcing that the SDK has been discontinued. Microsoft says it has no plans to make any replacement Band devices. Instead, the plan is for Microsoft to invest in the Microsoft Health platform, which is:

"open to all hardware and apps partners across Windows, iOS, and Android devices."

While dropping the SDK without warning leaves developers high and dry, the thinking behind the change makes sense - Microsoft's Band has lost out to rivals such as Fitbit and other fitness trackers, with users complaining about the battery life and uncomfortable fit.

If you have an app you've been developing for Band, code will still work with the existing user base, but there isn't going to be any way forward. The APIs for working with the Health data store are still accessible and the plan is that they will remain so, but it isn't clear why you'd choose to work with this as there won't be more users down the line.
The Microsoft Band phone app does offer some user data, such as steps taken, without the need for a band, and this data will still be accessible, and can be passed to Microsoft HealthVault if the user chooses. MIcrosoft recommends that developers who are interested should visit the Microsoft Health site.
Microsoft has a long and sad track record in dropping technologies - Silverlight, Lightswitch, and Visual Basic to name just some of the more obvious ones. The message it sends to developers seems clear - don't rely on writing apps for a technology that Microsoft can decide isn't worth keeping where there's no alternative supplier.

More Information

Microsoft Band Developer Site

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 November 2016 )