Fashion Week’s fickle fitness favorites

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Misfit-shine-wearable.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Last September during NYC Fashion Week, the must-have fashionista accessory for the wrist was a Jawbone, in hard-to-get colors like aqua [TTA 17 Nov 13]. This year, Misfit Shine hit the runways with a vengeance (so to speak) with some…er, interesting…wearables with hard-core appeal. Courtesy of Chromat, it was incorporated into this interestingly air-conditioned evening look. We doubt we’ll see it at Connected Health Symposium in Boston at the end of October…but maybe at CES Unveiled on 11 November in New York.

But Jawbone is the one that’s scoring big funding–they’ve ‘jawboned’ another $100 million, the same amount they received in financing last year at this time. It’s a chunk of the $250 million they were raising earlier this year. According to Re/Code, new investors include Rizvi Traverse Management. The round puts the company valuation north of $3.3 billion. Like Misfit, it is also opening up its UP software API to be used by developers on other smartphones, watches and wearables.

All that Quantified Self data? Drowning doctors don’t want to see it.

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/reduce-documentation1.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Our long-time readers will remember Questions # 3, 4 and 5 of The Five Big Questions (FBQ*). They have not lost their salience as doctors are rejecting the not-terribly-accurate ‘telehealth’ data [TTA 10 May] generated by popular fitness trackers such as Fitbit, Misfit Shine and Jawbone. We do note that Apple’s Health/HealthKit has trotted out alliances with Mayo Clinic and Epic Systems (EHR) on apps and integrating data into an PHR [TTA 3 June], as well as Samsung’s SAMI [2 June] funding a University of California (UCSF) research center and (of course) Google. But this article confirms (more…)

Swoon or mourn? Smartwatch action: Misfit, MS HealthVault, Glance

The smartwatch is nowhere near dead (check the beautiful Withings Activité at CEWeek), but its future, along with pure fitness bands, is a complicated thing. Three moves by small to giant companies further add color to (or complicate) the picture, including an ‘aftermarket’ add on for your current watch:

  • Misfit joins up with the Pebble smartwatch. The Misfit Shine, which has enjoyed much appreciation by the D3H as the ‘elegant button’, announced it will distribute its tracking app and algorithm technology to smartwatch makers. Pebble is the first and not exclusive. Sonny Vu, not known for his subtlety, is quoted in VentureBeat: “If I kept making just fitness trackers, I would be out of business in 12 to 18 months.” Misfit will continue to sell Shine in the US and internationally for at least another few quarters to meet demand for a fitness-only tracker. It shows you how quickly the weather changes: with $23 million in hand, and a Series B last December of $15.2 million, they are pivoting–quickly. John Sculley and other bluechip investors like Khosla Ventures and Norwest Capital obviously see a boulder in the road.
  • Microsoft moving to get into the smartwatch biz. Their patent filing of 2012 was just the first move but both Forbes and VentureBeat have confirmed rumors the device is a go. And they have a core of techies (Xbox) to work on it and the perfect place for the data: Microsoft HealthVault. Nothing like a smartwatch to jolt some life into a moribund PHR!
  • Love your plain old watch but just want to soup it up? Slip Kiwi Wearables’ Glance under your watch instead and get fitness tracking plus smartwatch functions. Kiwi already has the app for the Kiwi Move but Glance seems to have more such as interaction with your phone calls. Think of it as an aftermarket accessory, especially if you’re a traditionalist in watch form factor and/or don’t have the long green for Withings. In Kickstarter funding now with a price point of $65, but they are less than halfway towards their $150,000 goal with only six days to go. Gizmag

Amazon’s new wearables ‘store’ needs a location guide

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/amazon.png” thumb_width=”150″ /]Amazon’s flashy ‘wearable technology store’ which debuted today (29 April) is touted by a company representative as “…an exciting category with rapid innovation and our customers are increasingly coming to Amazon to shop and learn about these devices.” It features all the trendiest fitness bands too: Misfit Shine, the new Jawbone Up24 sleep tracker, smartwatches, wearable cameras, healthcare devices and even an Editor’s Corner with Advice for the Wearable-Lorn. The store is well stocked for fitness/wellness devices and smartwatches, but the shelves are bare for healthcare devices: the 12 listed include sleep tracker Lark, Withings and BodyMedia along with the exceedingly pricey HeartMath and iHealth telehealth products. The unfortunate problem is for those without the direct link to find the store. A search will divert you to a list of products. It isn’t listed under Electronics, nor if you search ‘wearable technology’, not listed under Departments or the show results for category bar (both at left). It’ll be fixed, being Amazon, and it does point to the now high profile of wearables. Amazon release, Silicon Republic (which features Amazon as a tech employer) Hat tip to Contributing Editor Toni Bunting, who reminded this Editor today that none of this appears on Amazon.co.uk!

The Quantified Selfer’s Christmas form letter

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]  APPROVED by The Gimlet Eye, on assignment directing Air Traffic Control for Mr. Claus.

Dear ______,

I can see from my ______ wrist device that it’s once again time for my annual Christmas letter to update you on a number of personal facts about the past year! Lucky for you, I’ve been able to view my daily data on a variety of self-tracking devices using interactive graphs to spot trends and patterns so far.  The year raced off to a great start because I got a new ______ from Santa last Christmas. (Continued…)

Our final pre-Christmas post is from the ‘♥ Sister’ herself, Carolyn Thomas, who has written this most witty communication that you may well receive from your favorite (?) Quantified Selfer. If not, reading this you will be forearmed at holiday tables and gatherings. You will view your QS nephew or friend in a new, more tolerant light. Wearing their Google Glass, tracking the cookies and egg nog on their Fitbit or Jawbone UP, passing around the Misfit Shine, obsessing on what workout will most efficiently balance the caloric intake…. To the rescue? Spot the Dog. Fitbit, Jawbone and Shine make great chew toys, and Glass…will Spot get to it before the video hits the cloud?

We wish all of our readers a marvelous Christmas Holiday, Festive Season and Happy New Year! (and thank Carolyn for the reference!–Ed. Donna)

Misfit Shine goes ‘Droid, at last

Monday’s big news in the wearable sensor world was that the 10p/US quarter-sized Misfit Shine is out in an Android version, as promised back in their distant Indiegogo days before the Khosla and Founders Fund VCs discovered it. Delayed at the end of May, and reset for mid-July [TTA 30 May] then for early 2014, the Shine is now a bright spot at places like Best Buy and Target at prices from $99 to $120, though it only works on Android 4.3 or later devices and TechCrunch is reporting that early reviewers have found it crash-prone. VentureBeat raves that the Shine now has what Nike FuelBand does not–Android. It’s also far more wearable; it now comes online in the hot new ‘champagne’ and azure colors even if the initially touted jewelry-like concepts have yet to materialize.

Update 4 Dec (Breaking News): According to TechCrunch, Misfit just raised $15.2 million from Hong Kong-based Horizons Ventures. Current investors participated in the round. This now leads to a total funding of $23 million according to CrunchBase. According to AllThingsD, founder/CEO SonnyVu claims they are on track to ship 200,000 units by end of 2013 and that the funding will go to other areas of wearable sensing such as wearable feedback, identity and payments technology as well as wearable controls and gaming. Also Mobihealthnews. Are we seeing here another hype curve?

For more on wearables, AllThingsD spotlights clothing: Athos’ workout gear, Notch’s snap-on sensors and clothing, Push’s strap for weightlifters, Heapsylon’s heart-rate monitoring t-shirts and sports bras. And HIT Consultant has a nifty infographic on the future of wearable technology in healthcare which includes the new Reebok Checklight (previewed at CES Unveiled last month) and Push. (hat tip to reader Luca Sergio via Twitter @lmsergio).

Quantified selfing: elitist and privacy invading

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gimlet-eye.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]The last place you’d expect to see a populist view of Quantified Selfing, outside of the retrograde publications perused by The Gimlet Eye, is Wired. All these Fitbits, Jawbone UPs, Misfit Shines, baby monitors and of course Google Glass cost, cost, cost–upfront and especially for the ongoing subscription services. Even wearables, at this point, are nowhere near cheap and cheerful nor will be for some time. Is QS a luxury of the residents of Elysium? Wired’s Quantified Man, Chris Dancy, toting up his five-sensor/system cost, pays $400-$1,000 per month. The Eye tears up at the effect on the exchequer. But the most painful point for the article’s writer is less elitism than privacy: all the data churned out, existing somewhere to be mined, and all those ad messages waiting to be served up on Glass. PPG–pay per gaze–indeed. Your ‘Quantified-Self’: Are Wearable Technologies Just a Luxury for the Upper-Class? 

Beyond the bracelet; the coming ubiquity of sensor-equipped wearables

Wearables are developing into the next big thing in the health tech/monitoring area, and developing beyond the bracelet form factor represented by Jawbone UP, Fitbit and Nike Fuelband. Misfit Shine of course has been touted as the major future player, but has experienced a few bumps on the road to Damascus, taking a technically-caused delay to their bracelet/pendant sensor debut now mid-July and not being compatible with Android [TTA 30 May]. But they have also entered the clothing fray with a trademark filing, according to Mobihealthnews. This article also spotlights wearables makers Zephyr, OMsignal (compression shirts); Heapsylon Sensoria socks. This Editor will be seeing and reviewing wearables such as Basis at CEWeek’s FashionWare, sponsored by Living in Digital Times, next week. Disclosure: TTA is a media partner of the Digital Health Summit, also produced by Living in Digital Times.

Misfit Shine debut delayed, minus Android

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/leather-band21-1024×682.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Announced to Misfit Shiners on the Saturday of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, of all times, was the further delay of their wearable tracker-sensor to mid-July from early June. The five to six week delay due to waterproofing was less aggravating to many pledgers than the dropping of Android compatibility for iOS only.  To those early birds who enthusiastically pledged their money to buy 10,000 units as part of the $846,000 incredibly oversubscribed placement on Indiegogo, the squishily worded justification on their blog from founder Sonny Vu, ” iOS allows us to roll out the features we want and give you the best user experience out of the box” did not satisfy–and the date of Android’s debut was not addressed. Comments on Indiegogo are not complimentary. With not only the kickstarter funding but a healthy jolt of Series A funds ($7.6 million), it is a mystery to most why Android is not supported from the start. Refund requests are a-go-go. So Misfit is sleek, waterproof….and has to overcome bad word-of-mouth from its funders just before its official debut. And directly competitive Fitbit and Jawbone UP support Android.  Crowdfund Insider, Mobihealthnews