Microsoft Band on sale days after Apple Watch pre-orders begin

Microsoft has a head start on the Apple Watch after it announced that its fitness-tracking wearable band will hit the market first in the UK on April 15.

Microsoft made little fuss yesterday when it opened pre-orders in the UK for its first wearable costing £169.99, while Apple confirmed last week that it will begin pre-orders for its first smartwatch on April 10.

Although the Band has ‘smartwatch’ features such as text, email and call notifications, its fitness capabilities will be at the forefront, working alongside Microsoft’s Health app.

The Band will monitor heart rate, calories and sleep quality and will crucially work across different mobile platforms – Windows Phone 8.1, Android 4.3-5 and iOS 8.1.2. In contrast, the Apple Watch pairs only with Apple devices.

Microsoft's Matt Barlow said: "The UK is a mature mobile market with seven in 10 adults regularly accessing the internet via mobile devices.

"Recent studies have shown an increase in adoption of both free and paid health and fitness apps and devices, and we've seen research that suggests an estimated seven million people are already using fitness-focused wearable devices in the UK, with that number expected to nearly double by the end of 2015.

"All of this makes the UK a natural next step for the introduction of Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band."

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