Beta release comes amid wider interest in health and fitness tracking from Google, Apple and other tech giants
Released as a beta through the company’s Windows Phone app store, the app isn’t quite ready for mainstream consumption yet. “This is a pre-release, Beta version of the application meant for Microsoft testing purposes only,” explains its listing.
“As a result, the application may have limited functionality or have known issues. Do not download this application for public use while in Beta testing.” Needless to say, this is unlikely to put keen Windows Phone owners off downloading the app to see what it’s about.
What is it about? A combination of fitness, health and nutrition-tracking features: Fitbit meets RunKeeper meets MyFitnessPal, you could say, synchronising users’ data across their Windows 8 devices.
“Set your daily calorie goal, record what you eat and get nutritional information for over 300,000 foods. Choose from hundreds of workouts and exercises with step-by-step instructions, photos and video. Use the GPS tracker to record your time, distance, pace and calories burned while you walk, run, bike and do other activities. Enter symptoms to get information on possible health conditions with the Interactive Symptom Checker.”
Bing Health & Fitness is the latest Microsoft app to be branded under its Bing search engine. It follows the launch earlier in 2014 of Bing Food & Drink Beta and Bing Travel Beta, which were both released as products for testing too. They join Bing Weather, Bing Sports, Bing Finance and Bing News on the store.
Fitness is an area of intense interest for a number of big technology companies besides Microsoft. Apple’s M7 processor was developed for its iPhone 5s smartphone with simpler, less battery-sapping activity tracking in mind. The company’s long-rumoured smartwatch product is expected to have an emphasis on fitness and health tracking too.
Google, too, is thought to be thinking hard about how to incorporate health-tracking features into its Android operating system. In January, references to an “Android Fitness API” were discovered in the code for the latest version of the Android software.
Google has also been tipped to develop a smartwatch, after acquiring startup Wimm Labs in 2012. Meanwhile, this month health-tracking watch maker Basis Science has been reportedly talking to Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft about a potential acquisition too.
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