There are two new competitors in the increasingly crowded market of fitness bands, with giants Jawbone releasing both a low-cost and a high-cost fitness bands.
The first device is the UP2 wristband, which is a successor to the popular Jawbone UP24 activity tracker, comes in as an entry device – marketed to those who have not owned a fitness tracker before and do not know where to start.
As an entry level device the UP2 does not have the large feature suite to rival the likes of the Fitbit Charge, but it does link directly to the intuitive UP app and feature the standard activity and sleeping tracking that one would expect from an activity tracker.
An additional benefit comes in the form of a vibrating monitor that can be configured to buzz on your wrist to wake you up at an optimal time of your sleep cycle and to give you reminders or other nudges throughout the day – this is hardly revolutionary but it is good to see this functionality added to a lower tiered tracker.
Jawbone claim a 7 day battery life for the UP2, which is pretty standard, and claims that the tracker will be shower and splash proof – meaning activities can be monitored 24/7, except when the band needs to be charged of course.
The UP2 will be available in the States on April 15 for the rock bottom price of $99, with release to international markets expected later in the year.
Jawbone coupled the announcement of the UP2 with a more head turning release of the UP4, which couples all of the standard fitness band features with the ability to pay for goods and services using the wristband.
This is a pretty significant feature addition for a humble fitness tracker, although it’s limited to American Express customers (with this card provider partnering with Jawbone to release the UP4).
Payments will also work in businesses that have contactless payments, of course, and cards associated with the UP4 will be managed via the companion app.
The thought process for adding payments to a fitness band are pretty obvious, it will mean fitness buffs don’t have to carry their wallets when heading out for a run or going for a gym session, whether this is enough of a selling point to put the UP4 ahead of competitors remains to be seen however.
As Jawbone have partnered with the US centric American Express for the UP4 it seems unlikely that this feature will be available on an international scale; with the exact release date for the UP4 in the States still hazy those of us across the pond may have to wait a while to find out how much functionality the UP4 will keep on its trip across the Atlantic.
The UP4 will be available in the Summer at a cost of $199.99.