Microsoft Updates Band SDK

New features in SDK allow more expanded health-tracking capabilities for Visual Studio developers who want to develop apps for second-generation Band.

The Microsoft Band team last month updated the Microsoft Band Software Development Kit recently with an expanded Tiles display limit as well as a number of new sensor subscriptions. The release came on the heels of the release of Microsoft Band 2 back in early October.

Microsoft Band 2 improves on its predecessor slightly, with a few new health-tracking features and a bit longer batter life. The expanded health-tracking features are part of the SDK, now that Band 2 is able to track items such as elevation and location, and provide health information tailored to specific activities, such as golfing (for which Microsoft provides a ready-to-use app).

According to a post on the Visual Studio blog from Maria Kang, Program Manager, Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health, the Band SDK update includes an additional five sensors:

  • galvanic skin response (electrical conductivity of the skin in kohms)
  • barometer (air pressure)
  • altimeter (elevation)
  • RR interval (time between heart beat peaks)
  • ambient light

on top of the initial nine available with the first Band. The increase in features tracking allows Band 2 to maintain competitiveness with popular devices out now, such as the FitBit. Also new is the ability to display up to 13 Tiles, up from eight in Band 1.

Band 2 SDK also allows use of PDF417 bar codes, a style of bar code that's used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for driver's licenses in many states to make them RealID-compliant.

Developers who want to target new features of Band 2 can get the bits here.

Version 2 of Microsoft Band retails for USD$250 (the first version debuted at $199), but during the holidays some sites have cut the price about $50.

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