According to leaked internal documents picked up by Windows Central, Best Buy will begin selling the Microsoft Band at 765 U.S. stores towards the end of this month. The retailer is yet to confirm the report, but it has been building a greater smartwatch and fitness tracker presence in its stores. It is thought that live demonstrations of the Microsoft Band will be given in stores, writes Jared Newman of PC World.
Microsoft improves Band capabilities
The $200 Microsoft Band was announced in October, although there was little fanfare and availability was limited. Microsoft was seemingly aware that the product was not entirely polished, and pitched it more as a teaser for its Health service rather than a product fit for public consumption.
That said, the Band has been given a new lease of life over the past few months. Microsoft updated its Health service in January to include guided workouts, followed by a significant February update which added voice dictation, quick-reading notifications, a virtual keyboard and a Software Development Kit (SDK) so third-parties could develop their own apps.
Microsoft Band: Impending battle for smartwatch market share
The partnership with Best Buy would significantly increase the availability of the Microsoft Band, which was incredibly difficult to buy online until recently. It is now available on the Microsoft online store, which coupled with the software updates could mean that the company is finally taking its fitness tracking hardware more seriously.
The potential partnership with Best Buy would make the average consumer far more conscious of the Microsoft Band, ready for the impending battle with the Apple Watch and other smartwatches from rival tech giants.
Wearable technology looks set to be a hugely important arena for the year ahead, and Microsoft must be hoping that its not too little too late for its Band. The Band will not be short of competition, and it remains to be seen whether the recent software updates have done enough to mark it out from the crowd.