Microsoft Band: Customers of the defunct health tracker provided a refund

Remember the Microsoft Band? The wrist-worn fitness tracker launched in 2014 with a disconcerting thud; our editor in chief himself reviewed the unit, and warned that “you’ll grow to hate wearing it as much as I have.” Just two years later the tech company abandoned it in the face of tough competition from the makers of similar devices.

Microsoft continued to support the Band and follow-on Band 2 (our EiC’s review of that product? It “collapses short of the finish line“) via its Health Dashboard apps and services, but on Friday Microsoft announced it’s finally pulling the plug on the platform.

This means that from May 31, 2019, Microsoft will end support for the Health Dashboard, with all related apps set to leave the Microsoft Store, Google Play, and Apple App store at the same time.

While customers will be able to continue using their Microsoft Band device, the web-connected features will no longer be available, the company confirmed in a message on its website. Band owners have until the end of May 2019 to export their fitness data or to transfer it to another service or wearable.

Notably, Microsoft said it would offer a refund to certain customers who own the Band. It includes those whose device is still covered under warranty, or, alternatively, anyone considered as an “active user” of the device. Microsoft defines this as someone “who has worn the Band on their wrist and completed a data sync from the Band to the Health Dashboard between December 1, 2018, and March 1, 2019.”

If that’s you, then expect to receive an email with refund instructions — and be sure to put in your claim before August 30, 2019. Owners of the original Band, which launched in 2014 for $200, will receive $80, while owners of the Band 2, which sold for $250, will get $175.

The GPS-enabled Band can count steps, monitor heart rate, map runs, calculate ultraviolet exposure, and provide sleep data, among other features. It can also send notifications via a smartphone by way of a gentle vibration.

The device launched in October 2014 with the improved Band 2 following exactly a year later. But in the fall of 2016, Microsoft announced it had sold out of the tracker and had no plans to make any more.

The decision came at around the same time as the launch of the Apple Watch, which had fitness trackers very much in its sights, while competitors such as Fitbit were already enjoying decent sales with their own offerings.

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