Health tech has been booming for all but one tech giant, as Microsoft announced this week that it will be discontinuing its Health Dashboard, on May 31st, 2019. Fortunately, if you still use your Microsoft Band, you'll be entitled to a refund.
With the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 processors finally finding their way into smartwatches, the health tech business has really started to take off for companies such as Fossil and Fitbit. Larger tech companies such as Samsung and Apple also have a keen eye on the wearables market. With 125.5 million wearables sold last year, it's safe to say the health tech trend isn't going anywhere. That is, of course, unless you're Microsoft.
After stopping production of the Microsoft Band in 2016, the tech giant has decided to completely halt all support services for its own-brand fitness tracker, rendering any devices still out there close to useless. And if you were wondering, yes, this effectively takes Microsoft out of the wearable battle altogether.
Microsoft Health Dashboard Closing
The Microsoft Health Dashboard was a health-focused app that coincided with the tech company's brief foray into fitness trackers and health tech. It worked with the Microsoft Band and Band 2 and could track sleep, heart rate, steps, and daily exercises.
With a clunky operating system and poor reviews for the Band and Band 2, Microsoft wasn't left with many other options outside of closing it all down and chalking it up to a good try.
Competing with the likes of Apple and Fitbit is no easy feat, which is likely what spurred the dramatic move. Playing catch up in tech can feel nearly impossible, particularly when you've got plenty of other pieces of technology that need improving before your line of wearables.
What Happens When Health Dashboard Shuts Down?
Luckily for the few Microsoft Band users out there, the devices will not be rendered entirely useless. In fact, you'll still be able to track sleep heart rate, steps, and daily activities.
However, if you reset the device, it will be bricked, as it will be impossible to set up a new account.
Additionally, all user data will be deleted from the app, although Microsoft has provided a means of saving that data in a post on its website. Users will also lose access to the related apps on their smartphones, as Microsoft will be removing them from the App Store, the Google Play Store, and the lesser-used Microsoft Store.
Can I Get a Refund for My Microsoft Band?
In a surprisingly noble move, Microsoft is offering refunds for all Band and Band 2 products. You'll be able to get $79.99 for the Band and $175 for the Band 2.
However, there are stipulations. To be eligible for a refund, your device must still be under warranty or you must be an “active user.” What does the latter mean? According to Microsoft's post about the discontinuation,” an Active User is defined as a user who has worn the Band on their wrist and completed a data sync from the Band to the Health Dashboard between 12/1/2018 and 3/1/2019.”
Alternatives for Health Dashboard and Band
Given that Microsoft was forced out of the fitness tracker/wearable market by the competition, you can be sure that there are plenty of alternatives to choose from now that you've got your refund.
Fitbit, for one, has extended the full FitBit range to include two smartwatches and five fitness trackers, with a wide range of features and sizes that will fit your particular health needs. Plus, as one of the first and most successful fitness tracking companies out there, you can be sure these well-reviewed devices will stand the test of time.
Similarly, Apple isn't going to discontinue the Apple Watch any time soon, and you can't go wrong with one of the most popular devices on the planet. The Apple Watch Series 4, in particular, boasts some of the most impressive smartwatch tech we've ever seen, and the fitness tracking features are next level compared to Microsoft's.
Suffice it to say, you've got plenty of options when it comes to moving on from your sadly departed Microsoft device.