Readers may recall this editor’s most recent blast against Jawbone in which I complained about being emailed by them about a product I couldn’t buy. Well in due course I got a nice email from Jawbone, explaining the error and extolling the UP3, that I could buy. So nice that I relented and bought one.
Big mistake: my three UP bracelets that failed have lasted an average of some seven months each. The UP3 lasted just eight days before it stopped recording sleep correctly (an even shorter time than the two weeks the preproduction UP3 took to stop working when on trial by re/code).
Initial problem handling by Jawbone support has always been good – I can only assume they get lots of practice – and indeed I got an email straight back telling me how to do a ‘soft reset’ (These have never worked for me for any of the problems I’ve had, with either UP type of bracelet; perhaps it gets some people to give up.). When I told them it hadn’t worked, this was followed quickly by an email 10 working days ago telling me that they were referring my problem to colleagues and to expect a response within 2-3 working days.
Since when nothing: my emails have gone unresponded to, and I have heard nothing further. If this poor quality is the experience of others too (certainly some), then it’s clearly no wonder why FierceMobileHealthcare refer to Jawbone as one of six companies collectively making up 15 percent of the market with Apple & Fitbit way ahead.
It’s such a shame too, because in spite of the problems, my Jawbones, when they have worked, have been great motivators that have helped me lose over 12 kilos now – unlike the suggestions in the recent Guardian artcle, I’m sold on being nudged. I just need something I can rely on to nudge me!
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 (more…)
As intimated in our review of last year’s predictions, we feel little need to change course significantly, however some are now done & dusted, whereas others have a way to go. The latter include a concern about doctors, especially those in hospitals, continuing to use high-risk uncertified apps where the chance of injury or death of a patient is high if there is an error in them. Uncertified dosage calculators are considered particularly concerning.
Of necessity this is an area where clinicians are unwilling to be quoted, and meetings impose Chatham House rules. Suffice to say therefore that the point has now been well taken, and the MHRA are well aware of general concerns. Our first prediction therefore is that:
One or more Royal College/College will advise or instruct its members only to use CE-certified or otherwise risk-assessed medical apps.
The challenge here of course is that a restriction to CE-certified apps-only would be a disaster as many, if not most, apps used by clinicians do not meet the definition of a Medical Device and so could not justifiably be CE-certified. And apps are now a major source of efficiencies in hospitals – (more…)
Thanks to Prof Mike Short for drawing our attention to a neat infographic on wearables. It’s quite something to see an area of personal electronics that is currently so hot that doesn’t yet feature an Apple logo – it cannot be long.
One aspect of wearables that might also make an interesting (though challenging to get right) infographic would be information privacy. Counting apps that turn smartphones into activity trackers as virtual wearables, Jonah Cornstock has an excellent piece just published on how the acquisition by Facebook (more…)
In addition to Managing Editor Donna’s items on the opening of the Amazon Wearables Store, and the use of wearables by older ‘quantified selfers’, Prof Mike Short has kindly drawn our attention to the most recent BBC Click programme which features wearables. Of particular interest to me was the first item on how Formula 1 technology involving measuring drivers’ heart activity is now being developed for the mass market, at rather lower cost. That will overcome a serious limitation of existing activity trackers that rely on accelerometers – for example my Jawbone UP faithfully measures every step I take whether walking or on a cross-trainer. However sessions on the rowing machine – or indeed a recent row in the London Head of the River race (for me definitely the most physically exhausting event so far this year), record no activity.
Another intriguing way of measuring heart activity is (more…)