When I got home from work last night a nice surprise was waiting for me. I finally got my Microsoft Band. I already wrote a blog post about the Microsoft Band and the feature it offers. After the first 12 hours I already love it. It is great to have all the notifications directly on your wrist and don’t have to check your smartphone all the time. I am looking forward to test it a bit more, if you have any question feel free to comment on this post.
Tag: Windows Phone
Last updated by Thomas Maurer at .
Some weeks ago I was in the US for a couple of days, I took advantage of that and visited the Microsoft Store to get a Microsoft Band which was unfortunately out of stock. But I found another great gadget, which as far as I know is only available in the US and Canada, called the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. The Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter is basically a Miracast receiver, which you can use to project your Windows, Windows Phone or Android display wireless to another screen or projector.
The adapter has a HDMI port for the display signal and a USB port to power the adapter. You plug them in to your TV and after the adapter finished booting you can start connecting your Wireless Display. The Wireless Display Adapter does not only stream the video, it also allows you to stream audio.
This is perfect not only at home, but also during meetings or presentations. With the Windows Store App for the Wireless Display Adapter you can also configure some settings like name or security for the adapter.
Microsoft today announced a new product called Microsoft Band. The Microsoft Band focuses on health and fitness and comes with over 10 different sensors for health, sports and sleep tracking like built-in GPS and 24-hour heart rate monitoring to help you reach your fitness goals.
- 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.
- Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.
- Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.
- Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.
- Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.
- Sleep tracking: When activated, Microsoft Band tracks the length and quality of your sleep. Analyze the sleep charts in your app to gain insights about your slumber.
- Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.
- Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.
- UV monitor: Get a quick read of the UV Index while you’re out and about.
Cloud-based service Microsoft Health
Microsoft Health is a cloud-based service that helps you live healthier by providing actionable insights based on data gathered from the fitness devices and apps that you use every day. Activity-tracking devices like the new Microsoft Band, smart watches, and mobile phones plus services like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal connect easily to Microsoft Health. Using this fitness data and our Intelligence Engine in the cloud, Microsoft Health provides valuable, personal insights so you can reach your fitness goals.
Be more productive
But the Microsoft Band is much more. It also offers a lot of features as a smartwatch or personal assistant. Which shows you the usual stuff like text messages, meetings, calls, Facebook and Twitter integration but if you are using a Windows Phone you also have Cortana (the personal assistant on Windows Phone) integrated. These features should not only help you trough your daily life, they also should make you more productive and help you to keep your phone in your pocket.
Some of the function Microsoft offers in terms of notifications and alerts.
- Text Messaging: Get your text messages right on your wrist.
- Calls: See incoming call and voicemail notifications on your band.
- Calendar: Microsoft Band stays in sync with the calendar on your phone, reminding you of important events throughout the day so you can be where you need to be.
- Email: Monitor and preview email activity right on your band, so you don’t have to pull out your phone in the middle of your lunch date.
- Smart notifications: Choose which alerts you get on your wrist. Change the notification settings on your phone and your Microsoft Band will match.
- Watch mode: Turn on “Watch Mode” to always display today’s time and date without pressing any buttons.
- Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Stay up to date on Facebook without having to check your phone. Get the latest posts, comments, photo notifications, and personal messages on your band.
- Twitter: Tweets, mentions, retweets, messages, new followers. Set your preferences on your phone and see it all on your wrist.
- Cortana: If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can take notes and set reminders with your voice using Cortana personal assistant.
- Weather: Get real-time weather conditions and a 5-day forecast to plan your week.
- Finance: Create a watch list for select stocks in your Microsoft Health app. View the latest ticker activity right on your wrist.
- Starbucks: No need to reach for your wallet. Enjoy coffee on the go with your Starbucks card ready to scan at arm’s length.
- Timer & Stopwatch: Time your laps or your entire workout with the stopwatch. Set alarms to wake up silently or remind you to go for a run.
- Do-not-disturb mode: Tap the icon on your band to turn all notifications off.
- Personalization: With your choice of background designs and colors, let Microsoft Band reflect your personality.
- Display: The full color touch display is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight.
- Bluetooth 4.0: With Bluetooth 4.0, your data syncs to your phone in the background, so Microsoft Band is always up to date. You don’t have to log in to get the latest.
Works with the phone you own
The Microsoft Band not just works with Windows or Windows Phone devices, it can also be used on iOS or Android devices.
Microsoft says the battery life of the Microsoft Band will be up to 48h and is only available in the US for $199 (Microsoft Store). I am totally looking forward to replace my Nike Fuelband with this devices.
Okay it is a couple of months ago since I got a new phone or gadget. This time I got a Nokia Lumia 930 and I loved it from the first second. I the past months I was using my Lumia 1020 a because of the awesome camera which allowed me to take some great pictures. I was pretty happy with it, but until I got Windows Phone 8.1 I add some performance problems,maybe resetting it could fix could fix the issues, but I will try that later. Now I know I only got the Lumia 930 for a day and of course it is too early for a review but I want to write a little about my first impression. There are already a lot of good review out there in the web so I try to focus on the things I really liked about the device.
The first thing I have to say is that I love the colors you can get that thing. I got a green one but if I would have to go back I would probably go for orange. However both colors look great and it is a hard decision. The first thing I noticed when I unboxed the Lumia 930 was the amazing build quality, Nokia phones always had a great build quality but this one makes other phones look cheap. It feels really good in your hands and feels like a real premium device. The second thing is the amazing screen, since not a lot of review talk a lot about the screen, I didn’t expect a lot of difference to the Lumia 1020 or 1520, but the Lumia 930 screen makes me not want to use other phones anymore. It is a bright screen with great colors and a true black. The performance looks great again, similar to the Lumia 1520 and Windows Phone 8.1 on that device also got some new features which are not available on the Lumia 1020. Such as a setting which allows you to use the cellular data if the wireless connection has a limited connection, and much more.
Well this are my first impression after the first day, feel free to leave comments and questions.
In October 2013 I got my Surface Pro 2 which replaced my Surface Pro as my daily work device. Some weeks before I also got a Nokia Lumia 1020. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I want to share some of my impression about this combo. First of all I love the devices from a design and quality view. Both, the Lumia 1020 and the Surface Pro 2 are great devices with a high build quality.
First, the Surface Pro 2 is a perfect machine if you are doing a lot of traveling. I use the Surface Pro 2 as my daily machine for work, university or personal stuff. In November I had the chance to travel a lot and I really enjoy having a really small and light device with me instead of caring a heavy notebook, ultrabook or even an additional tablet. The form factor and the extended battery life makes the Surface Pro 2 is like one device to rule them all. For example I have used the Surface Pro as tablet during long flights to watch movies and videos or at home in front of the TV.
I also used it as notebook replacement for work or at university to take notes. I really love the stylus to draw and highlight things in the slides I printed to OneNote.
I also used my Surface Pro 2 to deliver my presentations and trainings. The stylus and the touchscreen is perfect especially during delivering trainings or in meetings to replace the whiteboard.
The second thing I love it the Nokia Lumia 1020. I don’t really own or carry a separate camera, so I use my phone to take pictures. During the presentations I did in Rome, Paris and Berlin I took a lot of pictures and honestly I haven’t owned a better compact camera yet. The quality of the pictures are just amazing.
This are some dedicated features to the devices itself, but what I really love is how they work together using Windows, Windows Phone and Microsoft Online services like SkyDrive (OneDrive). For example I planned and organized all my trips and presentations on my Surface or PC at home and saved everything into an OneNote notebook. The great thing about this is that all this information gets sync across my devices. So for example the e-ticket for my flight shows up on my phone. And even I lose my phone I can still access everything on my Surface or on another PC over the web, which makes it impossible to lose something.
I already mentioned that I took a lot of pictures with my phone. Now the worst thing which could happen, would be losing my phone with all my picture on it. With the Windows Phone SkyDrive integration, pictures get synced over the internet to my SkyDrive and across all of my devices. The same thing is true for my documents and presentation, I never have to think about coping a file from my PC at home to my Surface or something like that. All my files get synced automatically via SkyDrive. This gives me more time to work on my presentations and enjoy the places I can stay.
I really love the devices and I would really hate it if I had to give up on one of them. I think it would make me less productive and of course I would have to carry more stuff like an extra camera, phone, tablet and a notebook. And don’t for get to carry all the power adapters for all those devices. This is another small but great feature of the Surface Pro, the power adapter does not only charge the Surface it also has a USB port, with which you can charge your phone at the same time. I always thinking what could be better and besides lighter and slimmer devices and more battery life (which is always better, even the Surface Pro 2 runs for me mostly more than hours), the only thing I can think of is that I would love to have a Surface Pro with a bigger screen. The screen right now is great, but if you are working with a device for some hours you really start to like bigger screen.
Today Microsoft released a preview version of the Windows Phone 8 GDR 3 Update which includes some new features like support for better hardware, higher resolution screens, driving mode, screen rotation lock and more. But the best feature for me is the improved internet sharing. Since Windows Phone 7 you could use your Windows Phone to create a Wi-Fi hotspot so you could connect with your tablet or laptop to get internet access. Nothing special, iPhone and Android phones can do the same thing.
Now I am a lot on the road and I use this feature a lot, but the problem was I always had to first take my phone out, enable internet sharing and after that connect with my tablet to the hotspot. With the GDR 3 Update for Windows Phone this has changed. I can now connect with my Windows 8.1 device to the hotspot even, the hotspot is not enabled. This will automatically enable the hotspot and connect my tablet to it.
You can now simply pair your Windows Phone with your Windows 8.1 device via Bluetooth and after that you can make use of this feature.
1. First enable Bluetooth on your Windows Phone and on your Windows 8.1 device. In my case I used my Surface Pro with Windows 8.1.
2. Pair your Windows Phone and your Surface
3. Now you can see your Windows phone hotspot even it is turn off. By clicking on it the hotspot will be enabled and your device will connect to your hotspot.
This is just perfect for us road warriors Now I can leave my phone in my bag and just take my Surface out and do some work.
Since last week I am one of the proud owners of Nokia Lumia 1020, the best Windows Phone today. Not long ago I replaced my Lumia 920 with a Lumia 925 which was a pretty great device, it was basically a better version of the Lumia 920 and fixed some issues like weight and size. After the Lumia 1020 was released I could resist and had to get one because of the totally awesome 41 Megapixel camera. As I finally got my Lumia 1020 I was expecting a Lumia 920 with a lot better camera, but I was wrong. The Lumia 1020 does not only come with a better camera, it also had some other improvements.
- Weight – The Lumia 1020 feels a lot lighter than the 920
- Size – The Lumia 1020 with it’s huge camera is even thinner than the 920
- Display – The display looks better than the display on the 920 and the 925
- Speakers – Well something I don’t really need but the speakers on the 1020 are pretty good
- Battery Life – As far as I can say after the first week, the 1020 has up to 20% better battery life than the 925 in my usage scenario
- Overall Quality – If you have ever used a Nokia Lumia you know that the quality was always great, but 1020 feels even better
- Camera – And of course the camera is the biggest and best feature and is at the moment the best camera smartphone in the market
Well for me the Lumia 1020 is a great addition because I don’t even own a camera and with such a great camera build in into my phone I don’t need one. I already have planned a lot of traveling until the end of this year and having such a great camera always with me is just great.
My Name is Thomas Maurer. Microsoft MVP for Hyper-V. Work as a Cloud Architect for itnetx gmbh, a consulting and engineering company located in Bern/Switzerland. I am focused on Microsoft Technologies, especially Microsoft Cloud Solutions based Microsoft System Center, Microsoft Virtualization and Windows Azure.
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