Over the last few years, one of the biggest trends in technology has been the rise of fitness wearables — devices that track the wearer’s activity and overall physical fitness. The industry for fitness trackers is now worth an astonishing $700 million, and one in six Americans now owns at least one wearable tech device.
To take advantage of this money-making opportunity, tech monolith Microsoft recently signed deals with Fitbit and TaylorMade that will allow for the integration of data from wearable devices and services directly into Windows 10 and the Microsoft ecosystem.
According to an August 26 TechRepublic article, Fitbit devices will now come equipped with a Universal Windows App for Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest software platform. The app will be compatible with all devices using Windows 10, including tablets, PCs and smartphones, allowing users to track their fitness plans and metrics with a single interface. New Fitbit devices will also sync fitness data to one’s devices via Bluetooth technology and will respond to voice commands with the help of Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Siri.
TaylorMade, a golf equipment manufacturer, also announced that its myRoundPro app will be fully compatible with Microsoft Band, Microsoft’s own fitness tracking wearable. By allowing golfers to track their swings, scores and other gameplay statistics, myRoundPro has been designed to make the game of golf a more enhanced experience.
Microsoft’s push into the fitness wearables market comes at a time when devices like the Fitbit and the Apple Watch have already claimed the majority of market share. In the second quarter of 2015, Americans purchased 4.4 million Fitbits and 3.6 million Apple Watches, the Boston Globe reported.
However, since Microsoft’s Microsoft Band combines more features than simpler wearables like the Fitbit, it’s possible that the company could quickly catch up to its competition.
“Consumers expect their wearables to do more than simply count steps, just as they expect to do more than just make phone calls with their handsets,” Argus Insights CEO John Feland said in a news release.