SmarterMail 14.x BETA Now Live!

We’re excited to announce the BETA of the next version of our popular Windows mail server: SmarterMail 14.x! Over the last few major releases we focused on building upon our incredibly powerful email platform and improving upon the features and tools that System Administrators need. With this latest release, we focused on bringing the features that users love and that improve their day-to-day use of SmarterMail.

In addition, SmarterMail 14.x brings several new features, server side optimizations and fixes that continue to make SmarterMail compatible with the latest Internet trends. As with all releases, we worked closely with customers and partners, and while we couldn’t incorporate everyone’s ideas into this release, we prioritized our users’ wants to create a new version of SmarterMail that we think you will really like.

Let’s take a look at what’s new!

Unique Logins for Each Domain

Brand Identity

SmarterMail 14.x allows administrators to create unique login screens for every domain. Small businesses using SmarterMail on their own servers, or even companies using SmarterMail from their hosting provider, will benefit from the ability to customize the SmarterMail login page to add a company logo, provide additional branding text, or simply adjust the default “Login to SmarterMail” text to be more in line with an overall brand message. Imagine that Howie’s Home Design has 100 employees who regularly use SmarterMail. By adding custom login text, Howie’s can aid employees having trouble accessing their mail by providing links to their own documentation or adding information on how to contact support – directly from the login page!

Additionally, these customizations are especially beneficial for Web hosts and ISPs, where each domain represents a separate entity. Because administrators can decide which domains are able to override the login page settings, Web hosts and ISPs can choose to offer this customization for free or to use it as an upsell opportunity for their hosting plans. They can give their customers the choice of whether users see the default SmarterMail login page or one customized to that company’s brand. Furthermore, since hosted domains are able to provide their own contact information and support links, Web hosts and ISPs will see a reduction in calls and support requests from users who belong to a company they host.

White Label Your Installation

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 5.16.02 PM

A powerful brand identity is a vital component of any company. For this reason, SmarterTools allows companies to white label SmarterTools products at no additional charge. This can be done in conjunction with the customized login page mentioned above and the recent change to the End User License Agreement allowing administrators to completely remove the SmarterTools copyright information from the Web interface. Whether you’re creating your own private email platform or attempting to market email as your brand or service, you can present to your users a completely customized experience! Add to this the ability to include custom text in the Help menu, that can direct users to your own help documentation or contact page, and you’ve got an entire email platform dedicated to your company’s brand, from login all the way to support resources!

Multiple Calendar Support

MultiCalendar

SmarterMail 14.x introduces the ability to add multiple calendars to a single user account. Do you prefer managing personal and work appointments separately? Do you have a separate project that you want to track alone? Well now you can by creating a new SmarterMail calendar for your account! Along with being able to add as many calendars as needed, users can add their own custom color to the calendars they have available. When viewing all calendars together, the customized color can help dictate the calendar for the appointment being viewed. Even better, users can sync their additional account calendars using Exchange ActiveSync, Exchange Web Services, CalDAV and SharePoint. This means they have access to all of their personal appointments, not only within the SmarterMail Web interface but in their preferred email client or application as well. (For the initial BETA, users can sync multiple personal calendars through EAS alone. However, the additional protocol support for EWS, CalDAV and SharePoint will be added throughout the BETA.)

Connect and Share Using Dropbox and OneDrive

OneDrive_DropBox

We take file storage to the next level by adding support for Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive! File storage was adopted early on in SmarterMail, making file sharing a breeze. Continuing to build upon that, and similar to the Google Drive file sharing that was made available in an earlier version, we’ve added the ability to connect SmarterMail to your Dropbox and Microsoft Onedrive accounts.This means you can link to files two ways: using SmarterMail’s built in file storage or linking to files you’ve stored in your preferred cloud storage account. Even better – you don’t have to manage the permissions for your files with any of the integrated services as SmarterMail will automatically modify the file share so that anyone with access to your linked file can easily open it, view it or work with it!

EWS Support for Office 365 for Mac

EWSOffice365SmarterMail 14.x adds support for a more recent version of Exchange Web Services, a data synchronization protocol that allows communication between an email client and the mail server. Support of this updated version means users can seamlessly sync SmarterMail messages, contacts, calendars and tasks to third-party email clients like Microsoft Office 365 for Mac. (Though currently not available in the initial BETA release, SmarterMail 14.x will include support for this newer EWS version in the final version release or the minor immediately thereafter.)

Create a Disposable Alias

Disposable-AddressSmarterMail has always included Plus Addressing, a variation of your email address that allows you to automatically filter incoming mail into folders without first creating a content filtering rule. This is a useful way to sign up for newsletters and subscriptions without cluttering your inbox. But what about those times when you only need a temporary sign up or don’t want to give out your email address and get inundated with spam messages? With SmarterMail 14.x, you can now create a Disposable Address!

A Disposable Address is a randomly generated address, completely independent of a user’s current email address. This address acts as a timed alias, forwarding mail to the designated folder for however long the user specified. When the time limit has been reached, the address is no longer valid and mail will not reach your mailbox. You get what you need from the newsletter or service and can rest easy knowing you won’t receive an increase in spam messages.

View Multiple Resources Simultaneously

MultiViewResourcesIn this version, we bring collaboration to the next level by adding the ability to view all calendars – shared and native – in one calendar interface. The same holds true for viewing contacts, tasks and notes as well. This is an easy way to have all of your similar data presented together without having to switch between what’s natively in your account and what is shared to you! By simply checkmarking the resources you want to view, you can check out your own calendar appointments along with any that have been assigned on your Domain shared calendar, easily compare your own tasks with a coworker’s shared list and so much more! The ability to view like-items together gives you less time managing displays and more time focusing on what’s important.

Is that all?

Of course not! SmarterMail 14.x offers many more features and improvements. You’ll find them in the release notes posted in the SmarterMail 14.x BETA category of the SmarterTools Community, but here are a few more that might be of interest:

  • Using Mailbox Migration, users can import tasks from Gmail!
  • Administrators can customize the messages sent for certain automated emails. (For the initial BETA, this is limited to only the messages sent out to users for expiring passwords or password violations, but additional uses will be added throughout the BETA.)
  • When a folder is deleted from SmarterMail, along with being removed from the Web interface, it’s also deleted from the hard drive! Restoring a user’s account will be much faster as SmarterMail Administrators will no longer have to manually remove previously deleted folders. Furthermore, SmarterMail 14.x will do a one-time cleanup all of the current orphaned folders.
  • Unsubscribe links for mailing lists can now be given friendly text instead of displaying the unsubscribe URL.
  • For better spam handling, blocked senders will now block on the From address in the header of the message, in addition to the Mail From address given in the SMTP session.

Getting started with the BETA

To get your hands on the BETA simply visit the SmarterMail 14.x BETA Information thread, where you’ll see how to:

  • Sign up for the BETA
  • Get a special BETA license key
  • Download the latest BETA release (we update it regularly)
  • Communicate with other BETA testers and the SmarterTools development team
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest release note and BETA news

Sign up for the BETA

Dell Inspiron 13 7347 Review

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Tablet

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Tablet

So in my last few posts, I’ve reviewed things like the Microsoft Band, the HP Stream 11 and, of course, my initial feelings about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. While many of my reviews have been somewhat critical of Microsoft and their direction, I hope you’ve seen that, in my heart, I really do want Microsoft to succeed. Being a long-time Windows guy, I just can’t fathom a world without Microsoft.

I’m happy to say that with some recent changes, especially from the top down, that Microsoft really seems to be making a comeback. And this is what prefaces this review of the Dell Inspiron 13 7347.

First off, some specifications:

CPU: Intel i5 1.7GHz native
RAM: 8GB DDR3 memory
HDD: 500GB 5400 RPM drive
DISPLAY: 13.3 in. IPS display at 1920 x 1080 resolution
SLOTS: HDMI 2560, 3 USB (2 – 3.0, 1 – 2.0), SD MMC, Security
OS: Runs Windows 8.1 out-of-the-box, more on this later
BATTERY: 43WHr, 3-cell battery with 5 hours of battery life
DIMENSIONS: .75” (19.41mm) x 12.99” (330.12mm) x 8.74” (222mm), 3.68 lbs
MISCELLANEOUS: Passive stylus
PRICE: $699.00 from Costco – the 11″ version is available for $499.00

With that out of the way, here are some of my original stream-of-consciousness notes: The keyboard is great; Overall feel of this is awesome – almost a rubber feel to it, easy to hold, the perfect texture; however, it is a big bit when using as a tablet; Screen is a little on the dark side, but the resolution is fantastic; Great deal when compared to the Surface, though the Surface has a better profile and is lighter; Wi-fi works perfectly and better than both the Surface and MacBook Pro, which have had issues.

My initial reason for getting this laptop was for my kids. As I’ve documented in the past, I’ve wanted a device that was cost effective but that offered a high degree of flexibility and power for my kids. The HP Stream 11 was great as it’s really inexpensive and is a great media device for the kids, perfect for YouTube, Netflix, etc. when their outside, when they go to friends’ houses, etc. However, it lacks a certain amount of power for some of the things they’re starting to get into now, like editing movies and doing some more involved graphics. That’s where this Dell comes in.

As a convertible — yes, the Dell Inspiron 13 7347 converts from laptop to tablet just like the Lenovo Yoga — this “laptop” can replace the HP for my kids without too much concern on my part. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I *did* make some modifications to this after I got it. I do have to say, however, that these changes were extremely easy to make and really make a great machine even better.

First, I replaced 5400 RPM hard drive with a SSD. Then, instead of running Windows 8.1, I put the latest Tech Preview of Windows 10 on it after the hardware upgrades. All-in-all, a painless process that really made a lot of difference. It appears that making hardware changes to this laptop — hard drive, battery, RAM, wi-fi card, etc. — are REALLY simple. That said, the laptop is great right from the box. I only modified it to a) see how easy it was and b) well…because I could.

Regarding this being a “convertible” laptop, I’ve used the Surface Pro 2 and the Surface Pro 3, which are marketed as half laptop, half tablet. The Dell is primarily a laptop with the ability to convert to a tablet. I see this as a much better combination as the Dell has the benefits of a true keyboard but with the ability to change to a full touchscreen tablet. I think people in general will see this as well as they need all the functionality of a laptop but want the portability and usefulness of a tablet. You get that, and much more.

To put the finishing touch on this review, let’s talk displays. I may be the odd man out, but higher resolution displays are not all that important to me. This is partly due to how poorly Windows deals with DPI scaling and some other things. The Surface Pro 3 at 2160 x 1440 is just a bit too small for me, though the display is better overall, but the 1920 x 1080 on the IPS display of the Dell is pretty good. Angles are great but brightness and whites seem a bit dark and sometimes show a hint of yellow. Regardless, they’re minor inconveniences and I think I only noticed them because I was specifically looking for problems.

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a great, reasonably priced convertible laptop, offering the functionality of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet. Had Dell put a slightly better HD graphics card in this, I dare say I’d consider it a perfect device.

Now, I can’t end this without some commentary on Windows 10. I’ve been running it for awhile across a number of different devices, and I have to say I’m impressed. Microsoft seems to be taking the right approach to Windows 10. My perception is that they’re stepping away from building a “tablet only” interface that works on a desktop and, instead, making a “better” desktop OS that also works well on a tablet. In my opinion, THAT’S the way to go, and Microsoft is making commendable headway. I see Windows 10 becoming quite a formidable platform.

SmarterTrack 11.x BETA Now Live

We’re excited to announce the BETA of the next version of our popular helpdesk: SmarterTrack 11.x! Customers using the hosted solution at http://www.SmarterTrack.com will continue to run the latest production release until SmarterTrack 11.x is fully released to the public in the first quarter of 2015.

Over the last few major releases, we’ve focused on providing you tools to effectively communicate with your customers through an intuitive, self-service Portal and an interactive, online Community. With SmarterTrack 11.x, we focused on bringing two additions that have been heavily requested throughout the years: the ability to group all communication from a company/organization while also simplifying the initial setup and day-to-day administration of SmarterTrack. You’ll see both of these features in SmarterTrack and much more! While we couldn’t incorporate everyone’s ideas, we prioritized the wants of our users and partners to create a new version of SmarterTrack that we think you’ll be really happy with.

Let’s take a look at what’s new!

Easy Setup and Day-to-Day Configuration

Old and New Settings

With every major release, SmarterTrack has continued to grow, with new features added as well as improvements made to the already extensive feature set. With this release, it was time to take a look at the overall workflow and redesign the Settings area to make the initial setup and the day-to-day administration much easier.

SmarterTrack 11.x brings you a complete overhaul of the Settings section, making everything incredibly easy to find and ridding the interface of unnecessary settings. We looked at which settings were being used most by agents and administrators and how those settings interact with each other. We consolidated features and functions, reduced the number of settings and pages and drastically improved the overall structure. We think you’ll find it as efficient and streamlined as we do.

While a change this big could sound overwhelming, there’s no need to be concerned: Along with being more intuitive, every change will be updated in the Online Help, and we created a handy KB article, SmarterTrack 11.x Settings Redesign, so you can see where each setting is now located and what, exactly, has changed.

Introducing Users and Organizations

Organization_Filter1

SmarterTrack 11.x introduces a new Users and Organizations section into SmarterTrack’s Management Interface, allowing agents to view all communications from multiple users within the same organization. Often times, multiple people from one company will be in communication with your agents and now all that information can be collated in one place. Common scenarios where this can be used include multiple customers from the same organization inquiring about purchasing a product or multiple employees from a company requesting a resolution to a similar issue. By associating multiple users to an organization, agents will no longer have to browse through tickets or users; they can simply choose the company the customer is associated with and they’ll see all the information they need.

Easily View All User Information

User Details

User Details has always been an important tool in viewing all interaction from a single user. With SmarterTrack 11.x, we’ve made it even easier to get to and it now provides more useful information! Simply click on a user’s email address, whether in a ticket, live chat, or call log, and you’re presented with all the communications through tickets, live chats, calls and surveys, as well as their profile information and any roles they are assigned. You can add a comment about the user that other agents can see, modify any custom fields, view their history, such as their login dates and dates of their latest interactions, and even see statistics on how often they’ve been in contact with your company. Having all of a user’s information easily presented in a neat layout brings yet another CRM attribute into your powerful helpdesk system.

View All Recent Ticket Activity in One Location

Recently_Transferred1

When things get busy, and agents see a large number of tickets coming in and leaving their queues, it can be difficult to remember where every ticket has gone. SmarterTrack 11.x resolves this with the new Recent Activity and Recently Transferred ticket views. Say you added a comment to an old ticket but can’t recall if it’s in your Waiting or Closed queue. Worry no more with Recent Activity! All tickets that have been modified in any way will appear, whether you’ve simply added a comment, changed the priority or sent a ticket response. Using the Recently Transferred ticket view, you can even see tickets that have left your queue altogether, regardless of whether they were taken by another agent or transferred out. SmarterTrack continues giving agents the tools they need to improve their workflow and give them the time to focus on what really matters: your customers.

Community Improvements for Both Customers and Agents

Signature_Settings1

The Community has been a great addition to SmarterTrack by allowing agents and customers to collaborate on problems or ideas and get questions answered. In this latest version, we continue to amp up the Community with features that make it more intuitive and user friendly. Customers will be pleased to see that they can now add a personal touch to each of their posts with the ability to add custom avatars, as well as signatures! On the management side of things, new community reports have been created that show just how engaged your employees are with your community, making quality control simpler than ever.

Numerous Security and Efficiency Improvements

Recent Hacks

With each major version of SmarterTrack that’s released, we do our best to include a large number of back-end improvements to keep help desks performing at their best and to ensure the security of the software. Many of these changes are in the back-end code, so they’re not easily seen by end users, much less by system administrators – except when they notice how much better SmarterTrack runs. In this most recent version, we spent a great deal of time benchmarking SmarterTrack and then making changes to increase the level of performance and security across the board.

Is that all?!

Of course not! SmarterTrack 11.x offers many more features and improvements. You’ll find them in the release notes we’ll post in the SmarterTrack 11.x BETA category in the SmarterTools Community, but here are a few more that might be of interest:

  • Sort settings for Tickets, Chats, Tasks, and Call Logs are now stored in a cookie allowing for the same settings to be applied across sessions.
  • It’s now possible to limit an agent’s workload with an overall ticket limit.
  • URLs posted in the Community will now automatically hyperlink to their destinations.
  • Agents and end users are now subscribed to threads automatically that match your specified criteria with system events.
  • Time logs can be automatically created for call logs, tickets, and live chats.
  • More profile information can now be stored for users.

Getting Started with the BETA

To get your hands on the BETA simply visit the SmarterTrack 11.x BETA Information thread, where you’ll see how to:

  • Sign up for the BETA
  • Get a special BETA license key
  • Download the latest BETA release (we update it regularly)
  • Communicate with other BETA testers and the SmarterTools development team
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest release note and BETA news

Sign up for the BETA

Best Way to Bootcamp Windows on OSX

I’m taking a bit of a break from the Microsoft posts. Well, I’m sort of taking a break. In this post I want to demonstrate the best way to use Bootcamp on a MacBook Pro Retina to run Windows and OS X side-by-side.

First off, a gripe. Apple, why wouldn’t you provide a simple process or a simple step-by-step guide for getting Windows on your hardware using Bootcamp?

SmarterTools is a Windows development company that runs primarily MacBook computers because the hardware is incredibly solid. We build every computer with a Bootcamp partition because our developers spend most of their time in Windows. However, it shouldn’t be this difficult to get Windows running! On the other side of the office, the Customer Service team works primarily in OSX and this gives us a good balance of testing across all platforms. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we also have a few employees using  Microsoft Surface devices.

Knowing all of this, and having the experience with the process, I thought it would be very helpful for people to understand how to get Windows on a MacBook Pro. A majority of our MacBooks are late 2013 models and we run Windows 8.1 Pro. So, here is our configuration and the steps we use to get this all set up. It may also apply to other MacBook models, Windows versions, etc.

First off, what you’ll need…

  1. A DVD player (use a USB version if your MBP doesn’t have a physical drive) and DVD with Windows on it. Install off a USB drive doesn’t seem to work. Believe me, we’ve tried.
  2. A 4GB USB stick for the Bootcamp drivers.

So, let’s get started…

  1. On the Mac, start Bootcamp assistant. The easiest way to do this is use Spotlight (command + space and type “bootcamp”…it should highlight).  Choose whether you need to make your USB drivers, etc. This is where you’ll use the USB drive if you actually need to create/get drivers. If you’re lucky and have the drivers already, you can skip this step.
    Bootcamp Get Started
  2. Once the drivers are ready, choose your partition size and then your computer is going to reboot when done.
    Set Bootcamp Partition Size
  3. Hold down the “option” key on boot up.
  4. Choose EFI Windows or it may just say EFI with a disk and start the Windows setup process.
  5. When you get to the disk and drive options, delete the partition that was created for Bootcamp.  It should be the last one the list.
    Delete Windows Bootcamp Partition
  6. After deleting the Bootcamp partition, hit “shift + f10” and type in the following information:
    diskpart
    Select disk 0
    create partition primary
    format fs=ntfs quick
  7. Hit “alt + tab” after this is completed and then hit the “X” on the list of disks
  8. You now need to re-start setup.
  9. When your computer reboots, hold down the “option” key again and choose the EFI for Windows again. (It may just say EFI.)
  10. Now you can choose the last partition / drive in the list and Windows will install.

After Windows finishes installing, you’ll want to go through and do ALL of the Windows updates. Gotta love Windows…

Once you’re ready to go, all will work as normal: You’ll have 2 separate partitions on your disk, one for OS X and one that allows you to enjoy Windows on your Mac!

The Microsoft Band Experience

Microsoft BandIf you’ve read any of my recent blog posts (see this, this or even this), I have been somewhat critical of Microsoft. Between the issues with Windows 8/8.1, what I’ve seen with the Technical Preview of Windows 10, problems with their re-branding of products and services, the consumer experiences I’ve had with the Microsoft Stores and call centers…I’ve not had good experiences and I’ve written about them. Despite all of this, I decided to try the Microsoft Band. Shocking, maybe, but having been a long time Nike Band user and also using a Basis Tracker / Watch, I had some hopes for the Microsoft Band as it has numerous sensors and is cross platform. So, I bought one.

Maybe because it’s a new product that’s NOT associated with just Windows, but the Microsoft Band not only works, it works perfectly with my Note 3. I’m not joking, I’m honestly pleasantly surprised with how well this thing works! It works right out of the box and requires very little time to get up and running and working with your mobile device and the associated Windows Health app. There are no quirks, no bugs and well…not that many issues.

A common complaint is that it is a little big. However, if you are used to the various other bands that are available on the market today, while this is a bit bigger, but you forget about it after awhile. Another complaint is that the face scratches easily. I got a screen protector for it when I bought the band and put the protector on immediately. For anyone considering getting a Microsoft Band, this is probably the smartest thing you can do. So, scratching isn’t a concern in my case, but the fact that you need the screen protector at all may put some people off as you shouldn’t need it for a wearable. For me, though, it isn’t an issue.

As for the overall size of the Microsoft Band, it isn’t the result of poor design but rather it needs to be larger because they really packed a lot of stuff in it:

  • Hear Rate monitor
  • Accelerometer/Gyrometer
  • GPS
  • Microphone
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Galvanic Skin Response Sensors
  • UV Sensor

(learn about each of these sensors)

What I loved about the Nike Fuel Band was that it felt rewarding to hit my goals. I worked a little harder on certain days to get 7 day goals, etc. That was probably the best part of the Nike Fuel Band because, overall it had some limited functionality.

With the Basis, it has many of the sensors I wanted but lacked any reward system. I loved watching my sleep and it was the first time I really realized that I don’t sleep enough and I don’t always sleep well. But I just didn’t feel like I wanted to do more in my day with it, especially when compared to the Nike reward system.

I waited and waited for another band or watch that I really felt was going to give me the best of both worlds.  I had been reading up on all the Android watches, but nothing really felt right. Apple announced their watch, but the requirement for an iPhone plus not having GPS put me off, and I really am having a hard time getting over the stupid personal heart rate thing you can send to friends and/or the emoticons. I’m not even sure why those bother me so much…maybe it’s because I think they’re kind of cheesy and don’t see their relevance.

But then, suddenly, the Microsoft Band came out. It has daily goals, it has all the sensors, especially GPS, it has sleep monitoring and its a Band, not a watch, which works better for me when playing basketball and tennis.

Of course, I had one HUGE concern: How good would it be, considering Microsoft’s recent difficulties bringing products to market.  Without a doubt, they hit the ball out of the park.  Is it perfect?  No, but nothing ever is.  This thing really does what it says its going to do. Some highlights:

The sleep monitoring seems alarmingly accurate.

The heart rate has worked well for me but I have read of others having difficulties.  I don’t mind wearing the band tight and maybe that’s why I seem to be getting accurate results.

It works perfectly with my Note 3. I absolutely LOVE getting notifications on my wrist! I always thought that I just wanted a fitness tracker, but keeping your phone in your pocket and seeing if the emails, text messages or whatever are actually critical is REALLY awesome. This functionality got me thinking about the Apple Watch a bit more because it is going to have an OVERKILL of functionality on the wrist.  But, I really think they blew it not putting a GPS in the watch.

What about battery life? Apple announced that their watch will need to be charged daily. Charging daily, in my opinion, would make monitoring your sleep very difficult. Most people charge their phones at night, while they sleep. Having to change that pattern, or add in a new pattern and charging the Apple Watch during the day and your phone at night will be a difficult transition for many people. I’m finding that the Microsoft Band is lasting 2 days, with exercise, heart rate, and MANY notifications in a day…. and I can get a full charge in about and 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.  Would it be GREAT if the battery could last longer? Of course, but it seems like the Band is better at battery life than other bands currently on the market, much less others that are coming.  In my opinion, anything less than 2 days of battery life would prevent me from collecting my sleep which is one of the most important results for me as it’s demonstrating an area that I need to work on the most.

Overall, the Microsoft Band is a great product. It has an incredible number of sensors and gathers a ton of actionable data. The notifications and integration with Android has been excellent. The cross platform nature of the Band was possibly the BEST thing Microsoft could have done with this as it allows them to reach a much broader audience, something Apple can’t and won’t consider with their Watch.

I will end with a couple of my only concerns. First, the Microsoft Band seems to be sweat proof but not water proof. I’m pretty good about keeping it away from water but I have been pretty hard on my previous trackers: my Nike Fuel band was replaced 3 times and the Basis died in a couple months. I am hoping that the Microsoft Band has the longevity because I would REALLY hate to try and work with Microsoft on repairs after my experiences with their customer service teams for other items. Secondly, I wish the voice integration was stronger when using the Band with a non-Microsoft device. I suppose with Cortana, they want to keep that functionality a bonus for Windows Phone users. While that makes sense, it sure would be nice if I could use it as well.

Overall, I’m pleased. I’m happy that Microsoft finally did something right. Hopefully the success of this points them in the right direction and they can carry the kudos with them to their other products and services.

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