As the market leader, Fitbit has always been regarded as being synonymous with wearables in general. Its launch as a public company was at a point when the hype of wearables was at a peak with claims of the technology bring about a revolution in healthcare.
Unfortunately, the revolution never happened and Fitbit itself has now hit a wall. Sales are down, and last week, Fitbit reported a financial loss and announced it would be laying off 6% of its staff. Its share price is around 90% down on its peak of US $51 in 2015.
We looked at Boltt during 2016 when they were just kicking off. At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Indian start up put all their cards on the table, announcing their “triple threat fitness system”.
Arnav Kishore, CEO and Founder, Boltt Sports Technologies said “Our triple-threat fitness systems have been demonstrated at CES for the first time. Our vision is to change the regular fitness regimes and upgrade it with a combination of new-age thinking and technology. Boltt will be a one-stop solution place for the user’s health and fitness needs”.
New Balance has jumped into the running watch business with their all new RunIQ. The Android Wear equipped watch works with iOS and Android devices to deliver realtime information on heartrate, pacing and distance. It works with Strava – you get three months of Strava Premium if you order the RunIQ before the 1st of February – and there’s also a partnership with headphone maker Jabra so you can listen to your tunes while running.
For the last few years Fitbit has been the dominant player in the growing and lucrative health and fitness wearable market. They have built such a strong brand that fitness wearables are all called “fitbits” in the same way searching on the web is now called “googling” (even if you don’t use Google) or photocopying was called xeroxing.
But that market dominance is coming to an end. One of the largest companies in the world, Apple, is pushing its way into the health and fitness market with the Apple Watch. And while Fitbit integrates south many other exercise and well-being services, they are hanging on like barnacles to a grudge with Apple and won’t make their platform available to Apple Watch owners.
Why is this? To answer that we need to look back a few years.
Polar has long been known for their heart rate monitors and watches. They are now broadening their horizons with the all new Polar Team Pro Shirt.
This is a base layer, designed to be worn under your normal exercise clothing. The sleeveless shirt has two integrated sensors that directly contact your skin, negating the need to wear a chest strap. There’s also a small pouch at the back, under the collar, that jholds a paid that can collect stats such as motion, speed, distance and acceleration.
This seams to be a more elegant solution than the OMsignal shirt I looked at some time ago.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is a serious workout companion. Waterproof, with GPS and support for lots of fitness apps, it works on the road, in the pool, at the gym and almost anywhere else. Plus, you can switch to a different watchface and band for those times you need to look a little less like Sporty Spice and more like Posh Spice.
There are two buttons on the side of the Apple Watch. The rectangular button brings up the Dock as well as allowing you to make SOS calls and access Apple Pay. The Digital Crown is the dial that can be pressed to bring up all your installed app icons, or spun to scroll up and down screens or zoom into images.
The trouble is, if you rarely take the Apple Watch off and train with unit, some grime can build up under the Digital Crown. As a result, it’s harder to spin and press.
Photo provided by J. Rogers, Northwestern University
Researchers have long known that our perspiration can be used to tell us what is happening within our bodies. Now, a new skin patch under development by the Northwestern University’s Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics can measure acidity level and concentrations of chloride, glucose and lactate.
Those readings can be used to provide indications of hydration and other factors that can effect exercise performance. At the moment, the patch shows what’s going on through coloured indicators on the patch but the plan is for the data to be transmitted to smartphones where an app can show the feedback and potentially integrate into systems that assist with optimising exercise programs. Continue reading →