It’s tough being a consumerproduct executive at Microsoft these days. Despite their stellar efforts—theNokia Lumia 930, the flagship Windows Phone, is a great product—few consumers, outsideof a dedicated fan base, are willing to look beyond Android and iOS when choosing their new phone. Networkeffects are the primary reason. By the time Microsoft seriously got its acttogether with in the smartphone world, Android and iOS had thriving ecosystems.Developers are unwilling to invest in an ecosystem with such few users, andconsumers are turned off by the lack of quality apps
Now Microsoft has launched itsBand—a smart bracelet with a focus on mhealth apps that connects to your phonevia Bluetooth—in order to not get left behind in the consumer wearables war. Aninteresting feature of this device is its integration with the StarbucksRewards program, allowing consumers to pay for coffee by presenting a QR codeat the POS.
Starbucks is to begin acceptingpayments from customers wearing the new Microsoft Band smart bracelet. To usethe service, customers link their Starbucks Card to their Band and can thenpresent a barcode displayed on the wearable device to the cashier for paymentprocessing.
“With Bluetooth4.0, your data syncs to your phone in the background so Microsoft Band isalways up to date,” Microsoft adds. As a launch incentive, customers who ordera Band from the Microsoft Store will receive “a free $5 Starbucks Card that youcan load onto your My Starbucks Rewards experience on your Microsoft Band,” thecompany adds.
For the health conscious, techsavvy, pumpkin spice latte sipping consumer this is a great feature on whatlooks like a compelling product. What’s more, it works with the MicrosoftHealth app which is available for iPhone and Android phones. That might be thebest feature of them all.
Overview by Nikhil Joseph, Analyst, Emerging Technologies Advisory Service for Mercator Advisory Group
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