Microsoft rolled out a brand new Microsoft Health app update yesterday. Here's what's new:
Windows Phone, iOS, and Android
Multi-Device support: Track your steps and calories without Microsoft Band using the motion sensor on your phone.
Connected Apps: Share your bike data with Strava and MapMyRide.
Sleep: Auto-detect your sleep without activating the Sleep tile.
Motion tracking works with Windows Phone SensorCore devices, iPhone 5s and greater, and certain Android 4.4 phones and greater.
What’s New Microsoft Band Sync apps
But, a couple things were unannounced. First off, the desktop sync app now allows you to manage the Microsoft Band tiles directly in the application. Prior to this update, you had to manage tiles through the Microsoft Health app on the smartphone. This update makes this function easier for those using the desktop app. The desktop app, of course, gives you the ability to connect the Microsoft Band directly to your computer's USB port and allows for quicker updates than is possible over simple Bluetooth.
The second thing about this update, and the one getting more attention than the rest, is the proposed auto-sleep function. Supposedly, the Microsoft Band has been given the ability to detect when you're sleeping and enter into Sleep Tracking mode without having to keep the tile pinned to the rolling Band menu, or having to kick-off sleep tracking manually through the tile. There's been some discussion about how this is supposed to work, because many are finding that it doesn't work at all. And, in fact, due to this type of functionality, the Band needs a firmware update first. The firmware update has yet to arrive, but I suspect it will deliver very soon.
For now, kick-off sleep monitoring as you normally do and just wait for the firmware update. I'm at BUILD 2015 this week and I'm sure we'll hear more about this. And, if it's not mentioned, I'll ask. I'd like to get a good understanding about how this is supposed to work. Does it detect sleep based on your historical sleep patterns? Kick-off due to inactivity?
UPDATE: According to some readers the sleep function is simply a way that the Microsoft Health Dashboard manipulates the data it receives from the Microsoft Band. The Dashboard explains it this way:
Microsoft Band will auto-detect sleep events over two hours long, even when your Sleep tile is off. However, if you want to track sleep restoration, be sure to set your Sleep tile in motion when you hit the sack.
I've yet to see this function in action, despite a few sleep sessions. I'll have to turn off the Sleep tile to test.