Withings returns to international markets with Steel HR Sport and a new Go

Withings, bought back earlier this year from Nokia by founder Eric Carreel [TTA 3 May, release 31 May], reentered the market last month with most of the Nokia Health line and its new Steel HR Sport, a multisport hybrid smartwatch with heart rate monitoring, connected GPS tracking and fitness level analytics that analyzes VO2 max (release). Like Withings products before the acquisition, it is a pleasure to look at–well designed and more watch-like than smartwatchy–and surprisingly priced at $200. But on the budget side, reports indicate that Withings is reviving the Withings Go, famous for its eInk face. According to Wareable, they found a listing with the FCC for a successor model number to the previous Go (WAM03) containing information about a fresh design and new sensors for this basic fitness tracker. No price or release date is listed, but the 2016 model was about $70 retail.

Withings’ HQ has returned to Paris and is selling in the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and New Zealand.

Healbe GoBe sees daylight–but still can’t count calories

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/healbe-gobe-top-4-970×0.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]At CEWeek NYC last June, this Editor spent some time with Healbe’s co-founder, who demonstrated to me a prototype of the Healbe GoBe 100% Automatic Body Manager fitness tracker. I walked away underwhelmed at its performance and skeptical of its main claim to fame–automatic measurement of caloric intake via measuring blood glucose conversion to fluid in cells. This was reinforced by a trail of tech product reviewers digging into its development, the controversial science behind it and a growing rebellion on Indiegogo, where contributions exceeded $1 million. Then it took delays–first September, then November. Few in the industry believed it would ever ship.

However, it has, and at least one intensive review after a month of wear is in from Engadget. Topline: it’s not a scam (which will disappoint some)  (more…)

“Wearing a fitness tracker…is so 2013”

So begins the Phys.org article on a stick-on fitness tracker developed by engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University. Certainly some impressive engineering on display.

Sadly no information is included in the article on how long the tracker stays stuck on, or minor issues like battery life or cost, so I’m not planning on giving up my Jawbone UP just yet. A most interesting development though – one feels it cannot be too long before it becomes implantable and the accelerometer doubles as a power source to top up the battery. Then it will be headline news.

More apparently will be revealed in this month’s issue of Science.

Meanwhile the Vandrico database now covers 195 wearables, a huge rise from the 118 when we first wrote about the database in mid February. Accelerometers are the most popular sensor.

Can the market cope with that level of choice…with Apple still, apparently, to come?

Intel and its ‘Basis’ instinct

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/intel-basis-smartwatch_large.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Intel now in the smartwatch business…or are they?

TechCrunch reported yesterday that fitness tracker Basis sold to Intel, ending weeks of speculation of a sale to Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft. The price is between $100 and $150 million according to TechCrunch’s sources. A higher-end ($200) watch which recently entered the sleep tracking area, Basis’ Health Tracker B1 currently tracks steps (accelerometer), calories burned, heart rate, skin temperature and perspiration through wrist contact. Their proprietary software loads up the information to a dashboard for analysis and tracking. Basis has not developed into a major fitness smartwatch, having 7 percent of the market according to TechCrunch but far less according to NPD Group’s 2013-4 retail sales year , with Fitbit at 68 percent, Jawbone at 19 percent and Nike FuelBand at 10 (Mobihealthnews). With Intel premiering at CES a smart chip called Edison for wearables and a Siri-like Bluetooth headset dubbed Jarvis, the speculation is that the purchase is to give Intel both entreé into and a ready-made working team for the Internet of Things and wearables, since it largely missed the boat in mobile.  Also Motley Fool, Apple Insider and one tech observer on why Intel shouldn’t be in the smartwatch business.

2013 fitness tracker sales…and a personal experience

As someone who has been wearing a Jawbone UP for some five months, I was interested to read that Mobihealthnews reports on a (pay-walled) survey that shows Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike as sharing 97% of the activity tracker market in 2013 present, the split being 68%, 19% & 10%, respectively (the rest 3%).

At the same time that news agency, along with others, reports on the rash apparently created by the recently-introduced Fitbit Force on some people. Closer to home, I have had cause to scrutinise (more…)

iPhone 5’s health tracker-friendly chip

Lost in the somewhat fizzled debut of the iPhone 5s (the pricey one) last week was their inclusion of a “motion coprocessor” chip called the M7, which measures data generated by the phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass. Apple has also created the CoreMotion API for developers to facilitate health tracking apps, including the Nike + Move app. It’s catchup time with Samsung’s S Health surely. Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry  This has fueled the expected Apple-ologist divinations on Apple’s ambitions in the wearable computing area, a taste of which you’ll see in GigaOM, though the Trojan Horse analogy is a mite overblown. Hat tip to reader Chris Paton.