Until Apple finally takes the wraps off the Apple Watch (which by the latest leaks is pointing to March/April of 2015) the wearable world will be dominated by two players - Google and surprisingly, Microsoft. Yeah, Microsoft.
Sure there's the Fitbit, the Pebble, Qualcomm's Toq thingy, Samsung's myriad of smartwatches, and a spattering of odd product names and choices - we're looking at you, will.i.am. But when it comes down to it, it's becoming a two horse race between Android Wear and (shockingly) the new Microsoft Band.
Yeah, we actually think that highly of Microsoft's wonky new shackle-like device.
With over 9 sensors onboard - including GPS and UV light sensors - the Microsoft Band easily bests the likes of Fitbit, Jawbone Up, and other fitness-only tracking devices. But it's the smart features we're mainly concerned with here at Entropy (as let's face it, we're not huge fitness freaks). And on that count, the Band packs a punch - with an admirable list of notifications and alerts (from Email/SMS alerts to phone calls and App messages), this little device is surprisingly functional.
In a way it's the perfect cross between Android Wear and a fitness tracker.
But that's not why we're really excited about the Microsoft Band. The big news is - it's totally cross-platform. With the ability to sync to Windows Phone/Android/iOS, the Band moves out of single platform territory, and becomes a viable and compelling cross-platform smart wearable - perhaps the first of its kind. Sure several fitness trackers provide some basic cross-platform support, and Pebble syncs well to both iOS and Android. But the Microsoft Band provides a consistent and compelling set of features across ALL major platforms.
And that's something Android Wear and Apple Watch simply can't deliver.
Don't get us wrong, we're huge Android Wear evangelists - having recently upgraded our Samsung Gear Live devices to the latest LG G Watch R - perhaps the best looking smartwatch on the market.
And don't even get us started about our love for all things Apple and iOS.
But as a Developer, we're getting really excited about the prospect of a truly "smart" cross-platform device that brings all the benefits of fitness tracking alongside a core set of smartwatch features.
And our clients are, too.
With a number of our Android Apps now getting updated with Android Wear support, we expect the wearable "extension" paradigm to simply skyrocket. That's good news for everyone - and we can't help but be impressed with Microsoft's first reference device in the category.
We've already built in support for Android Wear (and Google Glass) into our App Experience Management solution, Remarkable. And we're gearing up to add Microsoft Band support as well (and of course Apple's Watchkit once things mature).
So yeah, we're sold on the Microsoft Band. And can't wait to see where the category goes once the "big three" are back at it again in a few months. This time, the battle is for your wrist.