Microsoft outs Band fitness wearable in Apple App store screenshots

The new device's sensors will track heart rate, steps taken, calories burned and sleep, according to a Microsoft privacy statement.

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Microsoft's Band fitness device, as it appeared at Apple's App Store. Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Microsoft hasn't officially announced its much-rumored entry into the smartwatch sector, but it has provided the world with an apparently accidental glimpse of the device, dubbed simply "Band."

Screenshots of the health-oriented wearable appeared Wednesday on the Mac App Store as part of a sync app that "seamlessly syncs your band to the cloud with the same account that you use from your phone companion app," according to the app description. Microsoft later revealed, in a blog post describing the Microsoft Health app and cloud service, that the Band device will go on sale Thursday for $199.

As noted by 9to5Mac, which first reported the app's appearance, a privacy statement for Microsoft's health products and services indicates that "Band sensors help you keep track of things like your heart rate, steps, calories burned, and sleep."

Previous reports discussing the device's possible health-tracking capabilities indicated that the smartwatch's debut was nigh, possibly by the end of October or early November. Indeed, it now appears Microsoft is kicking off its campaign Thursday, according to a Facebook event page created by the Microsoft Store that invites consumers to "get fit before the holidays."

Come into your local Microsoft retail store and start getting fit before the holidays! On Thursday, October 30th, we are hosting all-day fitness activities in U.S. Microsoft stores before the biggest candy eating holiday of the year! Microsoft wants to help you get a head start on your health and fitness goals by staying active & fit through a series of fun, high energy classes.

The store activities, which are scheduled to begin at Microsoft Stores at 10 a.m. local time, include fitness activities and prizes.

Previous reports indicated that the device would have health-tracking capabilities such as a heart-rate monitor and be capable of running across several mobile platforms, such as Apple's iOS and Google's Android operating systems.

Wearable devices such as smartwatches and smart glasses have commanded a great deal of consumers' attention and manufacturers' imagination in recent months, and none more so than the Apple Watch, unveiled in September. But Microsoft seems to be focused on one of the key selling points that other players in the crowded smartwatch arena have already seized upon: health. Samsung's Gear S -- its sixth smartwatch launch in the past year -- was unveiled in August and includes a heart rate monitor, pedometer, and sleep tracking.

Microsoft has been linked to current smartwatch efforts as far back as April 2013, when the company was reportedly shopping around suppliers in Asia for components to build a potential touch-enabled watch device. Reports earlier this year indicated that the device would physically resemble Samsung's Gear Fit with a full-color touch screen viewable on the inside of your wrist.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. PTwith price and release details.

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