Microsoft killing Photosynth, MSN apps
13 July 2015 | 0
Microsoft confirmed that a number of little-used MSN apps will be discontinued, and won’t appear in Windows 10: Photosynth, MSN Food & Drink, MSN Travel, and MSN Health & Fitness. But killing the latter app seems like a real blow to Microsoft’s nascent health initiative.
All of the apps will be killed off on whatever platforms they ran on: iOS, Android, and the Windows operating systems. In virtually all of the cases, just the apps are being retired; Microsoft plans to maintain its MSN Health & Fitness Web site, for example.
Because of this, the impact to each app will vary. The app for MSN Food & Drink, for example, contained a feature to allow users to create and organise shopping lists. But the remainder of the app mimicked a Web page: Users could explore and pore through various recipes, for example, and read news on topics like America’s Best Fast Food Shakes. The MSN Travel app allowed you to search for flights and hotels, and track the status of your flight – all features that could be handled by a website. Finally, even the Photosynth.net site will be maintained, although the iOS and Android apps will be discontinued.
But it’s MSN Health & Fitness that seems to be the most valuable to users and Microsoft alike, and it’s unclear what killing it will mean.
Redundant apps that still differ
Microsoft offers two health-focused apps: MSN Health & Fitness, and Microsoft Health. Both work on Windows Phones, but Microsoft designed the newer Microsoft Health app to work almost exclusively with the Microsoft Band.
Unfortunately, MSN Health & Fitness is an excellent standalone app, tapping into the motion-sensing capabilities of most modern Lumia phones to provide a bare-bones fitness tracker for those who don’t want to buy a dedicated device. It even tracks walking and running steps by default – something that the Band itself does not, unless you specify a workout. And while it has a slightly different mix of workouts than the Health app (mostly focused on yoga, Pilates and strength, while Microsoft Health broadens that out to involve running and biking), the Health & Fitness app arguably provides a comprehensive list of the most common exercises.
Unfortunately, the MSN Health & Fitness website offers just a general list of health-related news, without offering anything specific to users. And according to VentureBeat, the Health & Fitness app will dump any data you’ve stored in it by 1 November.