Images and details have recently been trickling out of the Microsoft Band 2, the second-generation version of the company’s line of fitness watches. There are some interesting takeaways within these leaks, including one that could prove groundbreaking in the realm of devices worn around the wrist.
If some of the initial prototype renderings are to be believed, it appears that the Microsoft Band 2 will feature a curved display that conforms to the users wrist, bringing a new dimension of comfort and sleekness.
The leaked Microsoft Band 2 images were published by a Spanish-language site called Microsoft Insider, and while the source might be a little iffy, the renders do look legit. The alleged prototypes feature a small horizontal screen that wraps around the wrist neatly and a modest black strap that secures with a clasp.
Microsoft has much work to do in order to get its Band series back on track after the first one, released late last year, came up short. Although the first Microsoft Band featured powerful fitness tracking hardware, including a heart rate monitor, a gyrometer, an ambient light sensor, a skin temperature sensor and more, critics called out its lack of smartphone features and apps as a serious drawback in light of its relatively high price point at $199.
We’re still not sure what kind of added functionality will be included with this newly developed version beyond the design alteration, but the curved screen is a good start and there have been rumblings about further innovations that could arrive with this sequel product. For instance, PC World notes that one rumored Microsoft Band 2 feature is the ability to track stair climbing. While not revolutionary by any means, this would improve the device’s claim as a comprehensive fitness tracking tool, and we would expect to see similar added activity-monitoring capabilities announced moving forward.
What will really determine the success of the Microsoft Band 2, though, is how much it branches into other areas. The biggest contender in the smart watch arena — the Apple Watch — offers basically all of the fitness-tracking capabilities that the Microsoft Band 2 did as well as a far more robust list of apps and functions that go beyond counting steps and calories. In our opinion, this is where the Microsoft Band 2 needs to grow in order to keep pace and succeed.
Whether the new wearable will be able to deliver is unknown, but we should have more clarity soon. Microsoft is expected to officially announce the Band 2, along with an assortment of other upcoming releases, at its big October 6th event in New York. We’ll be sure to round up all the important news that emerges on that date.