A lot of wearable devices have accompanying smartphones. The Apple Watch has the iPhone 6, Galaxy Gear ties in with a number of Samsung Galaxy handsets, while the Motorola Moto 360 marries happily to just about any Android phone. Falling into the same works-with-anything camp is the recently announced Microsoft Band.
With a newly launched wearable, you'd think Microsoft would be keen to push it as much as possible. So when the company decided to bundle a wrist-worn device with the new Lumia 830, which do you think it opted for. Yeah... the Fitbit Flex...
Looked at in isolation, it's a pretty good deal - at least it is if you are in the market for a Windows Phone 8.1 handset. Grab yourself a Lumia 830 from AT&T; and you can bag yourself a free Fitbit Flex into the deal. While this is an older, cheaper wearable than the Microsoft Band, it is nonetheless odd that Microsoft would eschew its own product in favour of a competitor's.
It could be that the deal was arranged long before Band was announced, but it smacks of a lack of faith in the company's own hardware. Initial reviews of the Microsoft Band have been less than glowing. Has Microsoft lost faith in its own wearable already? Part of the thinking is probably that while the Band has been designed to play nicely with not only Windows Phone but also iOS and Android, Fitbit added support for Cortana, making it instantly attractive to Microsoft and its fans.
But there's no getting away from the fact that it just looks a bit weird. Why would Microsoft not want to push its latest hardware rather than someone else's? Band might be slightly more expensive than the Fitbit Flex, but surely some sort of arrangement could be mustered up.
Was it down to AT&T; rather than Microsoft? Maybe. But Microsoft could have put its foot down. Or maybe Microsoft wants to keep Fitbit sweet, encouraging the use of Microsoft Health.
It could just be an interesting deal, but the Microsoft Band team would probably have preferred support to be thrown behind them rather than the competition.