A couple of days ago this editor got yet another promotion for a Jawbone product – UP4 – that he cannot buy. This time however, things were different.
Not only were the links both to find out more about, and to buy, the product broken, the UP4 isn’t even in the UK Jawbone store. Thankfully “Caitlyn” from “Jawbone Customer Care” did reply to my email, to give me standard blurb on the product explaining that it is linked to an American Express account to offer contactless payment. She also commented that it “is currently available for purchase in the US” so why the email was sent to a European she did not bother to explain, or seemingly, even care (they should know my address as they’ve used it often – see below). If this experience is repeated by other wearable suppliers, no wonder there continues to be a high level of abandonment among purchasers.
Now this editor has been after a posher UP ever since the new tracker that captures heart rate etc – the UP3 – was announced, seemingly many months back now, and so any email like this gets me excited, encouraging me to click ‘customise’ in the Jawbone store, only then to be told when I click through that it’s ‘coming soon’. and indeed it still is, apparently (even though Amazon now says it’ll be in stock by 15th July in the UK).
Why my keenness? Well I first bought a simple UP two years back to track steps following a knee operation that required a careful increase in usage over two months; I took to it immediately. So much so that when the first one broke (I’m on my fourth now – they seem to have an average life of about 7 months) I was distraught – even though there was no-one other than me to see what I had achieved, I was still proud of my daily step count. Doubtless this will seem daft to those who don’t ‘get’ wearables, and I’m sure it is – however anything that gets you working out harder (within limits of course) has got to be good in my book.
And then there’s the sleep – it’s not especially accurate at measuring sleep however it’s better than I am, and it keeps a record which over time had me going to bed and sleeping more – in my case some 30 minutes/night which really does further contribute to weight loss. At the RSM recently we had a truly superb presentation on sleep – sadly yet to be published on video – in which it was explained that that extra sleep changes the way insulin manages blood sugar and reduces the laying down of fat, so now I have some real justification for why I’ve lost 12 kilos over the time I’ve had the band.
However, given Jawbone’s appalling failure record (I know I’m not the only one with the experience referred to earlier), the fact that they cannot even get two links in an email right or market a product to someone in the right continent, dare I trust that the UP3 at some £130, will work well and last long?
All is clearly not well elsewhere either as FierceWireless reports a drop-off in Apple watch sales.
By the way the Royal Society of Medicine’s one-day conference on the medical benefits of wearables has now been announced for 23rd November. Earlybird registration is open, here.