Thursday, March 3, 2016

Microsoft Band 2

[Update: October 20, 2016]
Currently my band is on Build Version 2.0.5301.0
Latest version number on the update history page is 2.0.5202.0
Interestingly, also the Band app for Windows 10 (UWP) is currently 2.3.21004.0
Latest version number on the update history page is 2.3.20914.0
Realizing the band doesn't likely have a future...

[Update: March 25, 2016]
And the update history page was updated - the timing is uncanny!

[Update: March 23, 2016]
Currently my band is on Build Version 2.0.4313.0
Latest version number on the update history page is 2.0.4215.0
Interestingly, also the Band Sync App for Windows is currently 1.3.20307.2
Latest version number on the update history page is 1.3.20213.1
No issues I'm noticing but this seems to be a pattern...

[Update: March 4, 2016]
I hardly believe that anything happened in response to my blog post but coincidentally Microsoft updated that "update history" page I mentioned here in the last 22 hours. The "Latest version number" reflected for Microsoft Band 2 firmware is now 2.0.4215.0 which corresponds with what I see on my Band 2. In addition, a description has been added. In case @microsoftband is reading this, thanks for updating!

February 2016 was a bit of an interesting time for my Microsoft Band 2. I feel I should specify that this isn't a "review" or a critique of the band, just some observations.

Near the beginning of the month, I started having battery issues, meaning:

Until February 2016, I would plug in my band to my computer to charge around 10a and put it back on after it was finished charging before lunch. I'd then go about the rest of my day, track my sleep, use the stopwatch, rarely use any exercise functionality, make consistent use of the "watch" display, receive text and phone notifications but not much else. The battery lasted reliably so that the Band 2 never lost power/shut off between charges.

In February 2016 I started having the battery die during the night. I even started charging in the afternoon and still had the battery die overnight. This was a problem as I had to start setting a 2nd alarm to wake me up in the morning. This behavior persisted for a few weeks and I started contemplating taking my Band 2 into the Microsoft store to get them to replace it (thinking I must have a defective battery). Then Microsoft started pushing new firmware during the month - and this is why I'm writing a blog post.

My Microsoft Band 2 is currently (as of this writing, March 3, 2016) on Build Version 2.0.4215.0 26 R. This in itself isn't very interesting. What's interesting is that the "Latest version number" according to the "Microsoft Band and Health app update history" page, is 2.0.4117.0, with an "Update release date" of February 1, 2016.

So, maybe the update page is just trailing or someone forgot? It's more interesting than that. On February 19, 2016, I noticed my band was on Build Version 2.0.4212.0, and tweeted as much - no response from @microsoft (didn't expect one) or @microsoftband (sort of expected one). If I remember correctly, there was a firmware update between 4117 and 4212 as well, though I didn't bother to check on my Band 2 at the time.

On February 26, 2016 I tweeted @microsoftband directly, asking "is there a blog or twitter account that mentions firmware updates for band? the update-history page isn't updated much". An aside -  @microsoftband never seems to mention firmware or software updates.

@microsoftband responded, "Hi Josh, our updates site is handy and we also share information on our blog:"

So I followed their link to the blog, which looks like it's updated more often than the "update history" page. That said, the blog doesn't mention versions but does mention "updates" in some of the posts. The latest post (as of this writing, March 3, 2016) is from February 18, 2016 and mentions an update - I assume this may be related to firmware 4212 but also may be related to a similarly-timed Microsoft Health app update.

Google searches reveal next to nothing, though searching on forums I found that at least one person suggested that at least one of these updates has to do with API/developer updates.

Either way, I'd appreciated it (guessing you would too if you've made it this far through this post) if Microsoft was a little more clear & prompt on updates to the Band 2. A shining example of someone at Microsoft who's really delivered on communication is @GabeAul. Maybe there's someone who can try to shed that kind of light on the Microsoft Band firmware/software programs.

Lastly, I should point out that at some point in these firmware updates, the battery life started getting more reasonable again on my Band 2 so I'm thinking something was wrong in 4117 that was subsequently fixed - which is why I got curious in the first place. I realize I haven't accomplished a lot with this blog post though maybe this will serve as a record of some of the versions of Band 2 firmware for those curious. If I find out/learn anything more on this topic, I'll definitely share it.

To be clear, I like my Band 2.

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