Microsoft Band update lets you type replies and track your cycling

Thanks to a big update, Microsoft's Band just got considerably more useful -- whether or not you're a fan of the company's push into health. For a start, there's a swipe-capable predictive keyboard that lets you type out replies at those times when you'd rather not use voice or reach for the phone in your pocket. There's also a new cycling mode that optimizes the fitness tracking for your two-wheeled adventures. Studying your performance after the fact is easier, too. The Microsoft Health web front end provides both more data and better summaries of what you're looking at, and Band will sync to both Microsoft's own HealthVault and MapMyFitness if you prefer either of them.

You can get the Band update today. With that said, the activity tracker's largest overhaul is yet to come. Microsoft is releasing the preview version of a Band developer kit, which should open the door to third-party apps -- you won't be limited to the handful of features that are available from the get-go. The folks in Redmond are a bit late to app support (most other wearable platforms already have it), but it's hard to fault an impending upgrade that transforms the Band from a narrowly focused gadget into a multi-purpose tool.