Microsoft seemed very committed to activity trackers back in 2015 when it launched the original Band wristband, and the company reiterated this love for such devices a year later with the second generation.
But suddenly, Microsoft discovered that smartwatches/activity trackers don’t make much sense for its hardware portfolio and quietly killed the Band, despite some hints that a third generation model was prepared for debut.
And as it turns out, the Band 3 was indeed real, though at first glance, it brought only minor design and usability improvements over its predecessor. Basically, it was more like a hardware refresh than a completely new generation, and this could be one of the reasons the company decided to abandon the Band.
In terms of looks, the Band 3 looked nearly identical with the Band 2, and it was only slightly thinner and slimmer to the point where you could barely see it with the naked eye. The clasp on the back was redesigned and the device was supposed to be more comfortable on the wrist, though we were told the same thing when Microsoft launched the Band 2 and it wasn’t entirely true.
As for hardware, little was changed. The device featured the same 12.8mmx32mm curved AMOLED screen with 320×128 pixels resolution, Bluetooth 4 support, and improved battery charge time from 1.5 hours to 1 hour.
In addition to an optical heart rate sensor, gyrometer, GPS, ambient light sensor, skin temperature, UV sensors, galvanic skin responsive, microphone, and a barometer, the Band 3 was also upgraded with electrocardiogram support and RFID.
It was supposed to be fully waterproof, so Microsoft was working on swimming tracking as well, a feature that’s now available on other smartwatches, like the Apple Watch Series 3.
At this moment, it’s still not clear why Microsoft abandoned the device completely or if the company still plans to return at some point, but judging from this leaked info, the company might have made the right call.