Activity recognition, improved heart rate monitoring added to Fitbit trackers
Fitbit has released software updates for some of its activity trackers, enabling them to automatically detect the kind of activities the wearer is performing. SmartTrack for the Charge HR and Surge trackers is capable of recognizing movements typically associated with certain sports or exercises, and will record the amount of time spent performing the identified activity in the Fitbit companion app, among other new features.
Pebble CEO claims introduction of Apple Watch brought attention to smartwatches
The Apple Watch may be helping improve the sales of other wearable devices, according to the head of one smartwatch manufacturer. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky suggests the introduction of Apple's own wearable has pushed consumers into considering using smartwatches and other wearable devices, increasing sales for competing devices instead of acquiring existing smartwatch users away from other platforms.
Google Keep ships on iOS over two years after Android release
Google Keep, the search engine's note-taking app, has finally arrived in the App Store, two and a half years after it launched on Android and in the browser. Available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 8.0 or later, the free app allows users to save notes and lists on cards, with individual notes able to be searched, assigned colors, and have time or location-based reminders assigned to them. Notes synchronize with Google's servers, so they can be accessed from multiple devices, and can even be shared with other users for collaborative purposes.
Three patents at core of Jawbone-Fitbit infringement fight
Jawbone is attempting to increase the pressure against competitor Fitbit, this time by filing a patent infringement suit. The second lawsuit between the two wearable fitness tracker manufacturers has Jawbone claiming some of Fitbit's products infringes on its patents relating to a "wellness application using data from a data-capable band," and is seeking an injunction to halt any further Fitbit sales in the United States.
Employees moving from Jawbone to Fitbit allegedly brought company data with them
Fitness tracker producer Jawbone has sued Fitbit for acquiring confidential documents, shortly before its competitor holds its initial public offering of stock. Filed in a California State Court on Wednesday, Jawbone accuses Fitbit of "systematically plundering" confidential commercial information from it by hiring Jawbone employees, some of which acquired the secret data before departing to the competition.
Nike FuelBand, Jawbone UP struck; more removals imminent
In the wake of the "Spring Forward" full reveal for Apple's watch, other fitness-oriented wearables have been struck from the inventory of both the Apple online store, as well as the retail lineup. Confirmed as removed are the Nike FuelBand, and the Jawbone UP. Some more specific health monitoring peripherals still exist, however.
Sync Solver Fitbit to Health app with Health to Fitbit coming soon
We wrote a bit about Sync Solver for Fitbit app back in November. We have a Fitbit Zip, which tracks steps -- but doesn't do flights of stairs and sleep analysis, nor does it connect to Apple's Health app. Still, we'd like to get our steps into Health, and that's where a third party app like Sync Solver comes in.
Reports of skin issues after wearing Fitbit Charge prompts company statement
Fitbit is under fire from some users of a recently-launched fitness tracker, as skin-related issues are starting to resurface. The Fitbit Charge, an updated version of the Fitbit Force from last year, has been subject to complaints from some users claiming to have irritated skin after using the device, with the company response suggesting the instances to be less severe than the earlier wearable tracker.
Bypasses Fitbit's own lack of HealthKit support
A new third-party iPhone app, Sync Solver, has been released to sync data from Fitbit trackers with iOS 8's Health app. Fitbit has said that it has no current plans to support Apple's HealthKit platform, even though other makers of fitness trackers are doing so. The Health app unifies data from first- and third-party sources, and makes it visible in a central location.
Likely connected to lack of HealthKit support and/or Apple Watch
Apple has pulled all Fitbit products from its online store, shoppers note. The change was made without explanation, although last month sources indicated it might happen. Inventory of Fitbit devices at the store began to run low during the past week.
Two fitness trackers, fitness-focused smartwatch joinFitbit ranks
Fitbit has revealed three new devices in its fitness tracker range, including one which did not leak prematurely. The Charge and Charge HR appear to be reworked versions of the Fitbit Force, while the Surge has a larger display and a built-in GPS, with the device set to provide more smartwatch-style functionality on top of its existing fitness-related data collection activities.
No mandatory recall taking place as long as small adjustments made by company
Health band maker Fitbit offered a statement last week on the findings of an investigation into the Force fitness wristband. The company decided to voluntarily pull the device from store shelves in February 2014, as it was thought to be causing rashes on the wrists of users. CEO James Park took to the company's webpage to give an update on the independent testing and other findings from medical experts, confirming what was said in the preliminary tests in February.
Decision may be linked to Apple Watch
Apple may, in the near future, stop selling Fitbit products at its retail stores, sources claim. No explanation has been given, but it's speculated that the reason may be the Apple Watch, which is shipping early next year and will share similar functions, even if it's more expensive and not intended purely as a fitness device. So far, Apple doesn't appear to be taking action against any other fitness trackers, but Fitbit controls nearly 70 percent of that market.
New Fitbit fitness trackers look similar to Force, adds heart rate monitoring
Fitbit is close to releasing two new models of fitness trackers, with one including a new function, a report suggests. Marketing materials for two wrist-based devices called the Fitbit Charge and the Charge HR has surfaced, and while one seems to be a remodeling of a previous device, the other appears to add the ability for the wearer to monitor their heart rate.
Company saves $280,000 annually on premiums with Fitbit employee data
Companies are increasingly turning to fitness wearables like the Fitbit to help reduce costs. Cloud services firm Appirio launched a wellness program it calls CloudFit, and provided the Fitbit device to 400 of its employees. As a reward for employee health data tracking, the company re-negotiated its employee health coverage rates, and saved $280,000 annually, over five percent of its annual bill.
Jawbone ships Up24 fitness tracker in Australia, Europe, Asia
Jawbone has put its Up24 fitness tracker on sale in 29 more countries, after launching the device in the United States. Appearing in the UK, Australia and areas of Europe and Asia for the first time, the Up24 connects over Bluetooth LE instead of using a smartphone's headphone socket for synchronising like the original Up, and offers activity tracking and sleep monitoring. Usable on both iOS and Android devices, the Jawbone Up24 is priced at £125 ($207) in the UK, and around € 150 ($207) in Europe.
Fitness tracker lawsuit seeks refunds in California
Fitbit has been targeted by a lawsuit over medical issues claimed to be caused by one of its wearable fitness trackers. Gomez Law from San Diego has filed the suit, claiming Fitbit has "misled" its customers and caused nearly two percent of its customers to develop skin irritations from wearing the Fitbit Force, and demanding the company refunds purchasers of the device.
Company offering full retail refund for those requesting return
As part of a continuing effort to deal with a small percentage of customers developing rashes from the product, FitBit has pulled the Fitbit Force wristband from sale to try and remedy the issue. Earlier this week, Fitbit CEO James Park claimed in a blog post that 1.7 percent of Force customers have complained of skin irritation or any rashes. "Independent test results" haven't found any problems with the battery or electrical systems, with the analysis showing that the most likely problem being allergic contact dermatitis.
Fitness tracker causes rash of complaints over skin reaction
Fitbit is offering refunds to a number of customers suffering from an allergic reaction to one of its devices. A number of users claim to have suffered skin irritation when wearing the Fitbit Force, with separate reports and a large quantity of complaints on the Fitbit forums prompting the company to provide some users with an exchange or their money back.
LaCie Culbuto USB key designed as wobbly decorative object
Storage product manufacturer LaCie announced today its latest USB key, the Culbuto. Its aesthetics suggest a decorative inspiration -- for when it is not connected to a computer, the LaCie Culbuto stands upright on its round end, and wobbles from side to side. The name 'Culbuto' comes from the French, a toy with a weighted base that keeps the object vertical, even after it is knocked over. Equipped with a USB 3.0 connector on the "top" end, the Culbuto has a soft-touch rubber exterior, and features a slit to hold a photo or business card.
FitBit update features MobileTrack activity tracking for iPhone 5s
FitBit has announced an update to its iOS fitness app, released today in the App Store. FitBit allows users to monitor their exercise activity with their iPhone, track their stats and set fitness goals. Version 2.1 of FitBit features MobileTrack, which utilizes the M7 coprocessor in the iPhone 5s to track basic activity as it occurs.
Display on Fitbit Force provides activity statistics, call notifications
Fitbit has launched its second wrist-based activity tracker, following on from the Fitbit Flex. The Fitbit Force, leaked last week in promotional materials, updates the Flex's design by adding an altimeter and a small OLED display that provides more detailed information than the five-dot LED light system used in the original.
Leaked promotional materials show improved display, altimeter
Promotional material for a future Fitbit device has surfaced, showing the company as creating another wrist-based fitness tracker. The Force, mimicking much of the style of the Fitbit Flex, appears not to stray too far from the path of its predecessor, but this time the tracking watch will have an altimeter and an updated display.
Wrist-based tracker forgoes full display for five LEDs, no buttons
Fitbit has started shipping its first wrist-based activity tracker. The Fitbit Flex follows the Jawbone Up and the Nike FuelBand in providing tracking of activities and sleep patterns from the wrist, and like other Fitbit trackers in the entire range, is able to sync over Bluetooth 4.0 through iOS and Android devices, as well as using the provided Bluetooth dongle with a PC.
Facebook adds emotion selection to status updates
Facebook is introducing the option to add emotions to status updates. The new addition adds a drop-down box with a list of emotions to choose from, such as "Happy," "Sad," or "Tired," which can be added to the post, writes TechCrunch. Options to add content being consumed in various ways are also available, with items being added to the user's About page automatically. The system is currently being rolled out to Facebook users based in the US.
Fitbit One is all-day digital activity and sleep tracker
Fitbit today announced the availability of its Fitbit One digital tracker, a device that automatically logs users' activities during the day and transfers them to a laptop or mobile device. The company had previously announced the Fitbit One in September of this year, and today brings news that it is finally available, along with the Fitbit Zip, an entry-level tracker offering more basic functionality.
Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi scale ships in black or white
Fitbit has added to its range of connected, health-oriented gadgets such as the Ultra Tracker with the Aria Wi-Fi smart scale. The scale can track the weight, Body Mass Index, and body fat percentage of up to eight users. It automatically uploads this data to an online database users can access through a free account through a website as well as an iOS or Android app.