Smartphones -- and the iPhone in particular -- are the Swiss Army knives of tech. With each new version, they absorb more and more functionality from "dedicated" devices -- everything from point-and-shoot cameras, camcorders, portable gaming systems, dedicated GPS devices, e-book readers, and PDAs, just to name a few. And now, with the introduction of the iPhone 5S, another product category may well be on the chopping block: health trackers.
Deep in a dimly lit audience in New York City, I sat watching a presenter show a slide reading, "Challenges for High Performance Wearable Solutions."
Of all the challenges listed -- battery life, processor power, connectivity, developing compelling applications -- one was left out: who, exactly, wants to wear this wearable tech, and why?
"Wearable tech" is the latest hot buzz phrase, and it's been surging in consumer electronics circles. But despite how simple the label sounds on the surface, it's a category that's extremely tricky to pin down.
Eager manufacturers parachuting on … Read more
For this season's round of giveaways, we'll start it off with the Kindle Paperwhite. After being named "the classic beach device," this thing almost handled itself in the face of turmoil. While the sun, heat, and lava rock were mostly a breeze, the Kindle fell at the hands of the Pacific Ocean. If a lucky new owner can somehow get the thing working again, we'd love to see it live long enough to pump out one more good read.
Wearable tech is becoming a hotbed for innovation, but fitness tech has been the category that's opened people's minds to wearing tech 24-7. So we're taking the Fitbit Flex and the Jawbone Up and throwing them into the Prizefight ring!
The Fitbit Flex is the company's first fitness wristband with Bluetooth syncing. The Jawbone Up brings a unique design that's been fine-tuned after its initial release.
Both of them measure your steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, and quality of sleep with complementary apps.
Who will cross the finish line first? Will it be the … Read more
It's safe to say that our expectations of the GoPro Mountain Games, and the entirety of Vail, Colorado, were greatly exceeded. If the gorgeous weather, cobblestone streets, and bouldering world championships weren't enough to generate permasmiles, the Rocky Mountains provide a perfect environment for the Always On crew to do their thing. In fact, many of us around the office have determined that the land-locked, rectangular-shaped state of Colorado wields enough awesomeness to give Hawaii a run for its money.
If you're serious about tracking every calorie burned as accurately as possible, this makes the other trackers look like toys. But it's also the least comfortable to wear, and monthly subscription fees may also put some off.
BodyMedia sells two versions of the Fit. The "Core" version for $120 lacks Bluetooth and so can't talk directly to apps on your iPhone or Android device. The "Link" version sells for $150 and … Read more
My series on living with four different activity trackers returns to the Fitbit because there's a new Fitbit in town, the Fitbit Flex. The new wristband version of the Fitbit corrects some of the deficiencies I found with the Fitbit One, such as tracking my standup paddleboarding better and making me feel more motivated to hit my daily activity goal.
The Flex sells for $100, just like its clip-on sibling, the One. It weighs about half-an-ounce, and never felt heavy or uncomfortable around my wrist. But getting the clasp to close takes a little practice. Like Brian Bennett in … Read more
Wearing an activity tracker such as the Fitbit Flex is an efficient way to increase your activity. Counting steps motivates some users, while the number of calories burned or total distance traveled may be bigger motivation for others. The Fitbit Flex tracks all of these categories, but the indicator lights when you double-tap the tracker only indicate progress towards your daily steps goal. And without a small screen (like the Fitbit One is equipped with) you can't quickly scroll through your progress for your other goals. Sure, you can just launch the app on your phone, but being able … Read more
Fitbit recently launched the Flex, the company's first wrist-worn activity monitor that syncs with your smartphone. The Flex uses Bluetooth 4.0 to sync with compatible smartphones (more on this in a minute), keeping your current activity stats updated.
When you first get the Flex, you'll need to do some work to get it set up, but don't worry -- it won't take you any longer than it does to wait in line at Starbucks.
Upon opening the Flex, you'll notice the actual tracker is inserted into the large wristband. Remove the tracker and use … Read more