Microsoft will expand the availability of its Microsoft Band wearable device, boosting inventory at its own online and physical retail stores and offering the device through third-party retailers — Amazon, Best Buy and Target — for the first time, starting today. Microsoft Band will also launch April 15 in the UK, its first international market.
The announcements this morning follow several months of limited availability of the device, a $199.99 fitness and health tracker that offers notifications and lightweight apps, integrating with Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
The expansion comes ahead of the release of the Apple Watch, which will serve as a bellwether for the broader wearable market. Microsoft is also playing catch-up against established fitness trackers from companies including Fitbit and Jawbone.
Microsoft initially took a cautious approach to the release of Microsoft Band, which is the initial flagship device for the company’s Microsoft Health platform. The limited supply made the device difficult to find.
With the broader availability, Microsoft Stores “will receive larger shipments than before, on a more regular basis,” said Matt Barlow, Microsoft’s general manager of new devices, in a blog post announcing the news.
“We have been closely tracking feedback, and we’ve learned that our customers want more insights, additional features and deeper integration with existing applications and services,” Barlow said in the post. “They are excited about the ability to derive insights from data and how it can help them reach their fitness and wellness goals. Simply put, our customers are looking for us to roll out even more updates in an even more meaningful way.”
The device last month got its first big software update — including a new tile for cyclists and a much-anticipated web dashboard that lets users track their activity in greater detail than on the existing Microsoft Health apps.
Microsoft Band will be available in the U.K. at Amazon, Curry’s PC World, Dixons Travel, Harrods, and O2 when it launches in the UK next month for £169.99.