Nike's exit from wearables market turns into gain for 'iWatch' project
Two former Nike Fuelband engineers have jumped ship to join Apple, presumably to lend further support to the company's expected "iWatch" health and fitness device, according to discoveries made on the pair's LinkedIn profiles. Both hardware engineer Ryan Bailey and sensor software expert Jon Gale started with Apple last month, just two months after Nike gutted its own Fuelband team and essentially exited the wearables market.
Fitness apps to use Google Fit APIs to access health data from other apps, fitness trackers
Just as rumored, Google has launched its own health-related platform at Google I/O. Billed as an open platform and similar to efforts by Apple and Samsung, Google Fit will act as a central platform for an assortment of fitness and health apps, as well as wearable devices. Google Fit will collect data from all apps in one location, making it easier for app developers to not only store health data suitably, but also take advantage of other data stored on the service.
Free subscription to MapMyFitness MVP included with Galaxy S5 Sport
Sprint has unveiled its own version of Samsung's hard-wearing Galaxy S5 Active it launched last month. The Galaxy S5 Sport is an outdoor-friendly variant of the Galaxy S5, with a textured body to aid grip, hardware keys on the front, and IP67 water and dust resistance, with Sprint loading the Spark LTE-enabled smartphone with a number of apps aimed at helping the user keep fit.
Companion app for Nike FuelBand SE compatible with all Android 4.3 devices
Nike has finally released an Android version of the Nike+ FuelBand app, two years after it launched the iOS version, and far later than initially anticipated. The app works with the company's FuelBand SE wrist-based fitness tracker, allowing users to monitor their NikeFuel score and other functions the sports brand introduced in the original companion app.
OMsignal smart shirts now available for pre-order
Montreal-based company OMsignal has begun accepting orders from customers for its four models of smart shirts. Able to track the wearer's heart rate, breathing rate, breathing volume, movement, calories burned, overall movement intensity and heart rate information. A small module clips into the shirt to provide power for up to three days of normal use, which communicates wirelessly with the OMsignal app on one's smartphone. The shirts are intended to be worn under clothing for everyday activities, as well as using it explicitly for sport. Shipping this summer, OMSignal pre-order pricing starts at $200 for undershirt, sleeveless, t-shirt and long-sleeved shirt styles.
Event could relate to Samsung Gear Fit, S Health app
Samsung is planning to hold an event relating to healthcare, according to requests to the media to "save the date" on May 28th. The meeting, scheduled to take place in the morning somewhere in San Francisco, will apparently see "a new conversation around health" begin, though it is not entirely clear what Samsung could be launching or updating at the event.
Company to focus on software; surprise move may hint at Apple partnership?
In an unexpected move, Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE, but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward -- possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.
Razer Nabu hopes to avoid Fitbit Force skin irritation problems
Razer is delaying the release of its Nabu connected wristband, in order to make sure the device is safe to wear. In the wake of the Fitbit Force skin irritation fiasco, which saw users complain of rashes on their skin where the band was worn, the gaming peripheral manufacturer will be performing more medical testing on the fitness tracker, pushing the release back from the original first-quarter launch date until late May.
Wello smartphone case tracks blood pressure, ECG, heart rate
Azoi has entered the health tracker market, by announcing a fitness-tracking smartphone cover that works with both iOS and Android devices. Wello contains a number of sensors on the side and back that take a snapshot of the user's vital signs after a few seconds of being held, with the results transferred wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.0 LE and recorded in a companion app.
Fitness tracker filing suggests another Samsung wearable device on the way
Samsung could be preparing to launch a pared-down fitness tracker, following its launch of the Gear Fit last month. A filing on the FCC website for a device called the "S-Circle" comes months after the discovery of a similar filing at the Bluetooth SIG, and suggests the activity tracker could be similar to the S Band heart rate monitor that launched alongside the Galaxy S4.
Device aims to instruct on form, efficiency and help avoid injury
A new fitness device that acts more like a fitness coach and less like a tracker is looking to change how a workout is approached by offering more than just numbers. The Moov, created by a team that boasts a former Apple engineer and a pair of Microsoft researchers, uses a smartphone connection to instruct users on how to improve their workout rather than merely quantifying it.
Sony enters fitness tracker market with discrete wearable device
Sony initially unveiled its SmartBand wearable tracker at CES in January as the company's first foray into the fitness tracker market. Consisting of a rubberized band and a central and small Core sensor acting as the brain of the device, the tracker in theory performs all of the usual tracking functions of a fitness band, as well as handling other aspects of the wearer's life, such as music, when used with the accompanying Lifelog app. Electronista spent time at Sony's Mobile World Congress booth to try out the SmartBand.
Fitness tracker combines wrist-worn device with Bluetooth earpiece
Huawei has entered the wearable devices market with an accessory that provides users more options beyond just fitness tracking. The TalkBand B1 is a wearable fitness tracker that incorporates a detachable Bluetooth earpiece as part of the design, allowing the wearer to make and receive phone calls when not monitoring fitness. Electronista took a closer look at the device at the company's Mobile World Congress display.
Wearable fitness tracker could be purchased for under $100M
Fitness tracker producer Basis Science could be acquired by a major technology company in the near future, according to rumors. A report claims the wearable device manufacturer behind the Basis B1 fitness tracker is in talks with Apple and Google, with a further claim of discussions with Microsoft and Samsung over a possible sale, though not necessarily for a high price.
Earphones can sense pulse of wearer, pass data to smartphone app
Earbuds capable of sensing the wearer's heart rate from LG have passed through the FCC, ahead of a possible release in the United States later this year. The Heart Rate Earphones, audio devices that appeared at CES in January alongside the Lifeband Touch, are able to monitor the wearer's pulse and feed the data back to the wearer through an accompanying app.
API code hints at Google becoming central store for fitness data
Google is working to add some sort of fitness capability to Android in the future, according to leaked data. A new Fitness API will apparently collect data generated from various fitness tracker-related sensors and offer the results to fitness apps, potentially turning Google into a central store for all of the different health hardware and software on the market.
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.
Razer Nabu offers fitness band tracking with smartphone notifications
Razer has seemingly stepped outside its comfort zone and developed a life-tracking wristband, something a large number of other companies have also done at CES. The Nabu is a mix between a smartwatch and fitness tracker, combining the movement tracking elements of items such as the Fitbit Force with smartphone notifications and added social and gaming features.
Reign fitness band secured by magnets, coming this summer
Accessory producer JayBird is joining the fitness tracking market with its own wristband. The Reign is able to keep tabs on steps and general activity and synchronize over Bluetooth with an app on an iOS or Android device, much like other fitness trackers available today, except that it is also capable of suggesting to users whether they have a healthy lifestyle.
Core sensor to track movement, social activities
After releasing its own SmartWatch, Sony has decided to move into the wearable tracker market. The SmartWear initiative will be made up of a range of devices for tracking a variety of items, with the diminutive Core acting as the central point for all collection activity, as well as a more conventional SmartBand fitness tracker housing to hold the sensor itself.
LG fitness band could be accompanied by smart watch
One of two wearable devices from LG has surfaced, ahead of its expected reveal at CES. The LG Lifeband Touch, previously thought to be called the "G-Health" in an earlier rumor, appears to take much of its design from the Nike Fuelband SE, namely the unassuming black bracelet appearance, though it is thought to have a few notable differences.
Smart Home Tablet to act as central location for connected device interaction
Archos has outlined the range of devices it is preparing for CES next week, including a number of wearable items and some destined for use in the home. A smartwatch and a fitness tracker will be accompanied by a set of "connected objects" centered around home automation, and a separate 7-inch "Home Gateway" Android tablet that will act as a central hub for the collection.
Sports clothing company acquires fitness app, 20M user community
Sportswear brand Under Armour has acquired fitness technology company MapMyFitness. The purchase, worth $150 million, sees Under Armour take control of the MapMyFitness iOS and Android apps and platform, which is currently collecting fitness-related data on over 20 million users and from more than 400 different fitness trackers, sensors, and wearables.
Jawbone Up24 adds Bluetooth LE synchronization
Jawbone has updated its existing Up fitness tracker with a new wireless version. The Up24 is a wrist-based tracker that does the same job as the original Up, except that data is transferred over Bluetooth LE, rather than forcing the user to remove an end cap and to plug it into a smartphone's headphone socket for syncing.
Built-in spectrometer will monitor bloodstream to count calories
A new fitness monitor is attempting to trump offerings from Fitbit and Nike by automatically monitoring the quality of consumed food. The Airo wearable health monitor uses a built-in spectrometer to monitor the bloodstream using different wavelengths of light, with the wristband able to work out the calorific intake and the quality of the meal itself from this information.
Finding the right tech gifts for your fit friends
It used to be that holiday shopping season started the day after Thanksgiving, and one encountered Yuletide music only for just under a month. Halcyon days, those, but days gone by. Now, one is best served getting the jump on Christmas shopping early, and Electronista, as always, has your back. In the first installment of our Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, we're taking a look at the best fitness-oriented tech presents to keep hidden in the crawl space, because everyone already knows to look under your summer clothes in the closet.
Fitness smartwatch designed as standalone device, tracks workouts
Adidas has introduced a new smartwatch that it says is designed for runners. The watch, announced just one day after Nike revealed its updated FuelBand SE, is a standalone device that includes an integrated GPS and heart rate sensor, which it combines with movement sensors to monitor the wearer's training session.
BluFit Smart Water Bottle tracks water intake with app
BluFit, the smart water bottle that can track its user's water consumption, is available for pre-order pledging on Indiegogo. The glass bottle encased in a silicone sleeve notifies users to drink more water, based on a calibration of personal data such as weight, age, activity level, and more. The bottle transmits data by way of its Bluetooth LE chip to the BlueFit app, such as when and how much water was consumed.
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.
Sensor under rear clip can measure rate of pulse
Withings is attempting to enter the activity tracking market by releasing its own fitness tracker. The Withings Pulse, a rebranded version of a device shown at CES earlier this year, is a clip-on pedometer with similar features to the Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband, and the Fitbit range of trackers, though it is able to measure a heart rate when the wearer touches the unit's back.
RunKeeper adds integrated social function and premium upgrade option
FitnessKeeper has released the latest update for its RunKeeper- GPS Track Running Walking Cycling app, available on iTunes. RunKeeper tracks workout statistics such as pace, distance and time while exercising. Users are able to control their music and listen to built-in audio cues through headphones, as well as capture and save photos. Version 3.5 includes a revamped social experience, offering new options for interacting with friends directly within the app. Users can now follow all of their friends' activities and progress, including activity stats, photos and maps. New options for comparing workouts to previous activities are also included.
Wireless Scales can tweet user weight
Withings today announced the US availability of its next generation of Internet-connected bathroom scale. The Wireless Scale WS-30 brings Bluetooth Smart technology and Wi-Fi capability to the bathroom, allowing users to wirelessly beam vital information without having to connect to a computer directly. The Wireless Scale also includes on-screen visuals that will help users correctly position themselves for accurate weighing.
Uses biofeedback to deliver customized coaching
Sports and fitness app makers Pear Sports are now offering a free app that interfaces with a $150 kit sold at Apple retail stores to help users achieve fitness or weight-loss goals using personalized coaching from top personal coaches based on the biofeedback the kit sends the app. The product includes a Bluetooth heart monitor, a pair of Pear earbuds for listening to music and the coaching, and the app for iPhone or iPod Touch. The app provides real-time feedback and encouragement using data gained from the heart rate monitor.
Jawbone Up fitness tracker due November 6
The Jawbone Up, first unveiled in July, is now set to ship on November 6. The device is an innovative fitness and lifestyle tracker that incorporates numerous tracking functions. The Up is made to work in conjunction with the Up app (App Store; free), so users can track their progress.
Fit app works in conjunction with ANT+ adapter
Garmin has introduced a new ANT+ adapter for iPhones, along with a companion app for iOS- and Android-based devices. The fitness app, known as Garmin Fit on both platforms, enables users to track a variety of workout details including speed, pace, distance travelled, time, and estimates for calories burned.
Fitbit Ultra set to make getting healthy fun
Fitbit has introduced its Fitbit Ultra fitness tracker. The device works as a high-tech pedometer as well as sleep monitor. One of the key features of the new Ultra model is its pressure altimeter, which enables the device to track when a user climbs stairs or walks up hills.
Users can track pulse, distance, speed, more
Scosche Industries has debuted a new fitness combination for iPhone and iPod Touch users, a hardware band to wear during workouts combined with a companion app called the Scosche myTrek to help users monitor their pulse, target training zone and calories burned, as well as runners' speed, pace and distance. Past workouts can be stored, and the band uses Bluetooth to wirelessly transmit the data collected to the app up to 33 feet away.
SMHEART LINK demo
iTMP Technology has introduced SMHEART LINK, a new technology that is aimed at bringing new health and fitness capabilities to iPhone and iPod touch users. SMHEART LINK is described as a wireless bridge that enables an iPhone or iPod touch to double as a heart monitor and cycling computer. It can collect data generated by fitness sensors such as heart rate chest straps and cycling sensors on bikes and then send it to an iPhone for display and tracking.
iNewLeaf iPhone app
Angeion has announced iNewLeaf, an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to monitor fitness routines. The program is based on results from personal metabolic evaluations that can be administered at select health clubs. The 10-15 minute test is designed to calculate the body's response to exercise by measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in each breath. Analyzed results are then used to create optimized workout plans that include heart rate, cycling speed, power and cadence. Users can view the actual calories and fat calories burned after each session.
Toolsfactory software has announced the release of a new GPS enabled activity tracking software for the Mac, rubiTrack. The software allows users to display and organize their runs, bike rides, walks, or other outdoor activities so that they may be analyzed. Version 1.0 reads tracks for GPS enabled fitness devices like the Garmin Forerunner, then stores the tracks as both GPX and TCX files. The activities are then accessible though different activity groups which are automatically categorized by activity type, location, route, date, distance and workout duration.
Train your brain on a Mac
After receiving "thousands of calls and e-mails from Mac users," Posit Science Corp. says its bringing its Brain FItness Classic program to the Mac. Developed by a team of more than 50 neuroscientists, Posit claims on average, users memory improves to that of a person 10 years younger. The software is also designed to promote "faster thinking" and "sharper focus."
Apple fitness system?
Apple may be expanding its reach to include a new fitness system integration for its iPhone and the iPod touch, patent filings indicate. Although Apple already has a similar system, developed in tandem with shoemaker Nike, the Nike+iPod kit currently only works with Nanos, restricting both iPod owners and the marketing options of the corporations. The new system would likely have four components: iTunes-style software, physiological sensors, a rewards tracker and a means of coordinating group activities.