Several days ago, Jawbone announced new software and a new hardware option for its UP wearable tech fitness system - which is comprised of Jawbone's fitness tracking wristband, app and data services. As with most other fitness trackers, such as those from FitBit and Nike, Jawbone UP helps users measure daily physical activities that in turn aid users in understand how they sleep, move and eat. It all exists, of course, so users can make healthy choices that will lead to living better lives - the common theme amongst all of the players in this wearable tech market segment.
Clearly, Jawbone is significantly upping the competitive ante here in several ways. First, the new releases take a significant next step forward for Jawbone. The new UP 3.0 app in combination with the new Jawbone UP24 wristband gives users a new, always-on and always-connected capability, hence the new UP24 name for this latest version of the Jawbone wrist bracelet. No, the bracelet doesn't change in terms of looks - it is still arguably among the most visually pleasing of the available devices, especially from a fashion sense, as shown immediately below.
Second, Jawbone has significant plans for the future relative to wearable tech-based health and fitness. This is best exemplified not only by the evolution of the Jawbone UP itself but also by its $100 million acquisition of BodyMedia back in April 2013, which we've detailed at some length.
So what was just announced?
Two things specifically - the new UP 3.0 App for iOS and the new UP24 wristband. This system in turn is now powered by Fullpower's exceedingly cool and powerful MotionX platform and technology. The patented MotionX engine is based on the biomechanics of natural human motion.
MotionX has a number of top notch apps for iOS - MotionX GPS, MotionX GPS Drive and MotionX 24/7. We ourselves have actively used MotionX GPS for well over 18 months and MotionX 24/7 for eight months. MotionX 24/7 is a very cool health-focused app - we won't describe it here but check it out at the App Store - it's among the best $0.99 we've ever spent!
UP24 features the same form factor and technology as the original UP though its smooth, hypoallergenic, medical-grade rubber exterior features a new, stylish textural design. Jawbone claims the battery will last seven days and can be charged through either a computer or a USB power adapter via an included USB cable.
The UP 3.0 app makes use of now constantly available data to deliver substantial fitness and health insights throughout a user's day. As with all fitness trackers there is a "motivational" component to the Jawbone UP system. In Jawbone's case the company uses the notion of "celebrating milestones" and aiming to provide ongoing motivation and challenges to help the user accomplish just a little more each day.
The really significant change however is that the new UP24 wristband is not only powered by MotionX but now also connects wirelessly and continuously to a user's iOS device via Bluetooth Smart. Hence the "24" in the UP24 name - the user's data is continuously available to the UP 3.0 app 24 hours a day. What this means is that UP24 users can now also receive real time feedback and "in-the-moment" notifications to help users achieve their goals.
The original Jawbone UP bracelet requires physically connecting the bracelet itself to the user's iOS device in order to initiate a data download. Obviously a user is only going to do this typically once a day (although a user isn't limited to doing so once a day), and the UP app will use that data to summarize what a user has accomplished up to any given point in time. Our Misfit Wearables Shine fitness monitor works the same way only it utilizes low energy Bluetooth to automatically and wirelessly sync with the Shine's app. Once synced it disconnects and provides similar summaries of activities.
The UP24 however trumps both approaches by utilizing Bluetooth Smart to remain constantly connected to a user's UP 3.0 app - assuming of course that the UP24 and the iOS device are within range of each other. If paired devices go out of range they will simply reconnect and "catch up" with each other. The UP 3.0 app in turn constantly monitors a user's activity and proactively provides feedback based on up to date and timely data. For the user this means…
Turning Intention into Action
The UP 3.0 app, in concert with the underlying MotionX technology, encourages and motivates users to take small steps that can - theoretically and in practice - turn into long-term progress. These motivations (which you can think of also as personal "coaching") is entirely based on the unique data constantly being reported from the UP24 wristband. The UP 3.0 app will of course also work with the original Jawbone UP, but in this case the motivations won't be based on a continuous real-time data stream.
Examples of motivations and coaching include the following:
Today I Will: The UP 3.0 app's "Insights Engine" delivers simple, achievable opt-in commitments, dubbed “Today I Will” by Jawbone, that challenge users to accomplish a suggested goal in a day’s time. The app targets three categories – sleep, movement and water intake. As an example, UP 3.0 might deliver a Today I Will insight that could perhaps recommend that a user go to bed before 11 p.m. if the app determines a user missed a sleep goal several nights in a row.
Or it might suggest drinking eight glasses of water during a given day if it senses that a user has been actively working out. The UP App sends the user reminders, tracks progress, and also lets teammates (friends, relatives, a significant other, actual teammates that a user may have invited to share in progress details) cheer a user on throughout the day. Yes, that would qualify as externally sourced motivations. Jawbone sees it as an easy step toward breaking old habits and building new and healthier ones.
Streaks and Milestones: As a user continues to achieve goals over time, the UP 3.0 app provides rewards in the form of celebrations of both short- and long-term progress and goal attainment. For example, if a user hit s a goal consistently for a number of days in a row, UP will acknowledges that successful streak with a visual, interactive celebration within the app.
The UP App also celebrates meaningful milestones such as hitting a millionth step taken or logging 1,000 hours of sleep. Users determine their goals, but it is the app's job to proactively deliver on both the motivations and celebrations.
Activity Log: The UP 3.0 app lets users reflect on recent activity by providing a snapshot of the steps, sleep, workouts and meals a user has logged since the UP 3.0 app was last visited. Users can scroll up from the home screen to see recent activities and tap into any event from the most recent two days to quickly make edits, hide something from a feed or to see more detail.
Sleep Recovery: Both UP and UP24 users will now be able to Take advantage of a revolutionary sleep tracking system that works even if users occasionally forget to put their devices in Sleep Mode (trust us, this is a common occurrence). The UP 3.0 app will identify those times it believes you may have been sleeping and will add notes to a user's Activity Log.
Simply tapping on the notes allows a user to then confirm or adjust relevant sleep events and to see detailed estimates of a user's sleep cycle, including light sleep, deep sleep, time in bed, and wake-ups. The more a user tracks sleep patterns using sleep mode, the more accurate Sleep Recovery becomes.
Insights into Actionable Events
Because it is enabled by wireless syncing via Bluetooth Smart, UP24 is now the only lifestyle tracker that can push tailored, actionable information to a user at exactly the right moment (or at least the right moment as determined by the Up 3.0 app) in time. For example, it will notify a user when a step goal is reached with a push notification on the user's iOS device. From a motivational/coaching perspective it will let a user know when a goal is within reach - a "gentle, motivational nudge" will hopefully provide the user with that little extra something to drive success.
UP24 can also be set to send notifications with a summary of recent sleep activity at the moment a user wakes up, or a workout summary as soon as a workout is completed. All a user need do is to simply tap the notification to see how see the summary or add more information.
All notifications for UP and UP24 are customizable from the UP 3.0 app Settings menu. As well, partner apps found in the UP App Gallery can now perform new, more timely functions with real-time syncing via UP24. MyFitnessPal and LoseIt! Accounts, for example, can now be constantly kept up-to-date with the latest activity and calories burned. Or perhaps Recipes from IFTTT to receive nudges throughout the day based on current step counts.
If you happen to be interested in the Internet of Things and machine to machine capabilities you will be glad to also know that it is also now possible to use IFTTT with your wireless lighting system or Wi-Fi switch to automatically turn on lights or start a coffee maker brewing some Joe the moment the UP24 band exits sleep mode. That's right - UP24 takes a step towards the always wirelessly connected universe.
Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone notes, "We've learned a tremendous amount about how people live, and we’ve applied that knowledge to deliver even more personal data insights and more actionable recommendations with the new UP 3.0 App. UP24 plus UP 3.0 is the only system that pushes incredibly smart, timely information to you at just the right moment to help turn your intentions into action. As a result, UP24 is much more than just wireless syncing – we didn’t just want to add Bluetooth. Instead we used the real time experience to create a powerful, personalized system that helps you take action and fine-tune your day.”
The UP24 wristband is now available. It comes in small, medium or large, and in two colors - onyx or persimmon (or is that simply orange?). The new device retails for $149.99 at Jawbone as well as at Apple and Best Buy (News - Alert) stores. The UP 3.0 for iOS is available as a free download from the App Store but keep in mind that the UP or UP24 wristband is required for the app to function.
Edited by Alisen Downey
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