After several weeks of rumours and speculation, Microsoft has finally officially admitted – the Band brand is dead, and the manufacturing has been suspended.
Microsoft has removed all listings for the Band devices from the Microsoft Store and is apparently bringing the products off the shelves across several of Microsoft’s retail stores.
This news comes days after Microsoft renamed its ‘Health’ app to ‘Band’ – possibly to make way for new ‘Health’ apps that are not related to the Band line-up. That possibility now seems stronger than ever.
According to ZDNet, Microsoft has no plans to release a Band 3 device this year – as the rumours suggested – but is going to keep supporting the Microsoft Health platform across various partners and platforms. This statement comes from an official Microsoft spokesperson.
While the statement explicitly says there are no plans to introduce a Band 3 device this year – it does leave an opening for one to appear next year. However, it most likely won’t be using the Band brand – as the Band SDK has also been discontinued, and removed from Microsoft’s sites.
If the Band line-up were to continue, the developer support would not have been abandoned – on the contrary; Microsoft has pulled away all support from it. Therefore, we can assume that if there is a future wearable product, it won’t be called Band 3.
What’s for the future?
It seems, Microsoft Health has been spared the axe for now – which gives us a hint; maybe Microsoft Health is going to be the new focus of Microsoft’s health initiatives.
Considering Microsoft has been making most of their products platform agnostic – bringing Cortana to Android, Xbox to PC and many such examples – perhaps Health is going to be the same.
A Microsoft Health service that works across devices and beyond Microsoft’s walls could prove to be extremely useful not just for Microsoft but also the users.
A centralised service that could help users track their health statistics no matter what device they are using does sound appealing.
Only time will tell what is to come, but there are definitely bigger things in motion than what appear at the moment.