Microsoft's 'Band' is a fitness tracker / smartwatch, do you want one?

Microsoft has added another wing to its palatial electronics estate by launching its first ever wearable device. Called simply "Band," it's a fitness bracelet that connects to users' smartphones and monitors their activity while also managing texts and calendar updates.

Band is compatible across all major platforms, uniting Apple and Android under its banner as well as Microsoft's very own Windows Phone - of course.

The fitness bracelet is equipped with sensors that measure heart rate, sleep quality, light intensity (for suncream advice) and GPS functionality. The latter allows and to track routes when the user is running or cycling, and Microsoft says it can combine GPS tracking with accelerometer data to calculate the length of users' strides and therefore give a more accurate calorie burning measurement.

It's the latest band in a cannonade of fitness technologies that have been bombarding shelves over recent months. Every self-respecting tech giant, including Google, Apple and Samsung, have been manufacturing wearable technologies with a biometric focus. Then of course there are the specialist companies like FitBit and Jawbone whose products have rapidly turned the industry into a competitive hotbed.

The wide-ranging cross-platform support is, however, Band's real edge. However, as yet Microsoft has not outlined any plans to launch the smart bracelet outside of the US. It will go on sale there for $199, which works out as around £129.