The Tech News Blog

November 5, 2014

Jawbone Unveils UP Move, UP3 Trackers

Jawbone UP Move

Jawbone has two new wearable fitness trackers: the UP Move and UP3.

The $50 UP Move (pictured) tracks daily steps, exercise, and calories burned, as well as hours and quality of sleep. Plus, it comes with a clip accessory to snap onto a pocket, sports bra, belt loop, or other inconspicuous spots.

"People are clearly seeing real and tangible benefits from the UP system, and we want to expand those benefits to the widest possible audience," Jawbone project management head Danny Carvajal wrote in a blog post. "With UP Move we are bringing a simple, yet savvy, fitness tracker within reach of everyone with a great price and some fantastic accessories."

Users can tap into Jawbone's UP mobile app, but will also gain access to the new Smart Coach system, which Carvajal called "a partner in fitness."

The intelligent instructor "helps guide you to healthier choices each and every day," he said. Smart Coach learns your habits—good and bad—to serve as a digital motivator and personal trainer.

January 15, 2014

Nike Reveals Limited-Edition Silver FuelBand SE

Limited-Edition Silver Nike+ FuelBandSE

If you're looking for a functional yet stylish fitness tracker, the new limited-edition Silver Nike+ FuelBand SE might do the trick.

The new silver fitness gadget sports a stainless steel clasp, as well as a bezel and screws that Nike said "have been hand-worked to create mirror-polished surfaces that represent the intersection of sport and style."

It arrives on Jan. 19 for $169 at select retail locations and on The company did not elaborate on just how limited a rollout the silver FuelBand SE will have, so act fast if you want it.

The Nike+ FuelBand SE arrived in November for $149 in classic black with the option to add color to parts of the band. Later that month, a Rose Gold version was released for $169, but it does not appear to be available online anymore.

January 6, 2014

Fitbit App Now Supports Syncing with More Android Devices


The Fitbit is one of the most popular fitness trackers on the market with various designs and form factors to choose from. The mobile app has long existed on Android and iOS, but Apple's platform got preferential treatment in the form of direct device syncing. Fitbit added syncing support for some of Samsung's Android devices a while back, but only now has the company finally included more Android phones and tablets in the syncing fun.

The supported device list now includes many of the most popular Android devices like the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and Nexus 7 from Google. Motorola's Moto X is in the mix, as are the Droid Mini, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx, Droid Razr, Droid Razr HD, and Droid Razr HD Maxx. The LG G2 and HTC One are also on the supported list. The Galaxy S3, S4, and Note devices were already capable of syncing with the app.

December 30, 2013

Fitbit App for iPhone adds M7 Support, Becomes Its Own Step Counter


Fitbit makes some of the most popular fitness trackers on the market today, but now you don't even need one to count your steps. The Fitbit app on iPhone has been updated to take advantage of the M7 co-processor in the iPhone 5s, which allows it to count your steps in a battery friendly manner without the aid of an extra physical device. Fitbit calls this MobileTrack.

Apple's M7 co-processor is tiny extra bit of silicon on the main board in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and ipad Mini Retina. The system offloads all accelerometer, gyroscope and compass data to this single-core Cortex-M3 processor. Because it is so low-power, the iDevice can keep track of its orientation and motion without eating through the battery.

Fitbit isn't the first app to take advantage of the M7, but it has the advantage of plugging into a robust app and tracking program that a lot of people already use. If you carry a Fitbit, but should forget to charge it or leave it at home by mistake, the iPhone 5s can stand in for it and keep track of your steps.

November 13, 2013

Jawbone Boosts UP iOS App, Launches UP24 Tracker

Jawbone UP24

Jawbone today released a revamped UP mobile app, alongside a new wireless wristband.

Dubbed UP24, the new wearable tracker is compatible with the updated UP 3.0 iOS app, providing continuous feedback and real-time notifications.

"The UP community has logged more than 500 billion steps and 35 million nights of sleep with UP. It's an astounding amount of data," Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy, said in a statement. "From it, we've learned a tremendous amount about how people live, and we've applied that knowledge to deliver even more personal data insights and more actionable recommendations with the new UP 3.0 App."

Users will find the updated application provides more encouragement and motivation for long-term progress. Based on unique data supplied by the wristband, the app now delivers achievable opt-in commitments called "Today I Will." As in, "Today I will go to bed before 11 p.m.," or "Today I will drink eight glasses of water."

The app sends reminders, tracks progress, and lets connected friends cheer you on through the day. It also now rewards you for short- and long-term progress. Will you reach your millionth step today, or log 1,000 total hours of sleep? Expect interactive festivities on your phone or tablet in celebration.

November 5, 2013

Nike+ Move App Arrives for iPhone 5s Athletes

Nike+ Move iPhone 5s

The new Nike+ Move app, first shown off at Apple's September iPhone event, is now available for iPhone 5s users.

The app takes advantage of the updated iPhone's new M7 motion co-processor chip to measure various activities without the need for additional fitness gadgets.

"Nike+ Move uses the M7 coprocessor to convert your movement into NikeFuel, the first-ever single, universal unit for measuring all kinds of activities," Nike said in a release. "No matter your age, weight or gender, the same activity earns you the same amount of NikeFuel."

Like the existing FuelBand hardware, Nike+ Move translates steps, calories burned, and other actions into "fuel," Nike's proprietary measurement of activity. Simply watch your own fuel volumes rise, or sync your scores with Apple's Game Center to challenge fitness-minded friends.

The app also provides breakdowns of when you were most active through the day, and how much of your time was spent running, walking, or doing other movements.

October 16, 2013

Fitbug Launches $50 Orb Fitness Tracker

Fitbit OrbE-health company Fitbug on Wednesday introduced the Orb, a budget-friendly fitness tracker that costs less than half the price of competitors like the Jawbone Up, Nike FuelBand SE, and Fitbit Flex.

The button-sized device can be worn on a belt, wrist, or lanyard and keeps track of your steps, aerobic steps/time, distance traveled, calories burned, speed, and sleep patterns. It syncs this information to mobile devices and Fitbug's KiK digital coaching platform, which helps you set and monitor goals, and nudges you with advice and encouragement.

At $50, the orb "is making activity trackers more affordable and accessible to bring the benefits of wearable technology to the masses," Fitbug said. In comparison, the Fitbit Flex will set you back $99.95, while the Jawbone UP is priced at $129.99, and the Nike FuelBand comes in at $149.

"Wearable tracking technology is one of the biggest health trends of the year. However, high prices and lack of personal motivation to maintain fitness regimens means the full potential is yet to be realized," Paul Landau, Fitbug founder and CEO, said in a statement. "As one of the first companies in this category, we have designed the Fitbug Orb and KiK platform to provide both the device and advice people need to get fitter, lighter and lead happier, healthier lives."

September 24, 2013

FDA Releases Rules for Mobile Medical Apps

Fitness gadgets

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today issued its final guidance on how it will handle regulation of medical apps, and the agency decided to focus only on those apps that might directly affect a patient's health.

"Some mobile apps carry minimal risks to consumer or patients, but others can carry significant risks if they do not operate correctly. The FDA's tailored policy protects patients while encouraging innovation," Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.

The agency has been investigating this issue for several years, and received more than 130 comments when it solicited public feedback in mid-2011. Those comments "overwhelmingly supported the FDA's tailored, risk-based approach," the FDA said today.

Specifically, the FDA will have oversight on mobile medical apps that: are intended to be used as an accessory to a regulated medical device; or transform a mobile platform into a regulated medical device.

That means it won't examine apps that, for example, track your steps or allow you to view health information (like those in the slideshow at left). But it would look into apps that might diagnose abnormal heart rhythms, transform smartphones into a mobile ultrasound device, or function as the "central command" for a glucose meter used by a person with insulin-dependent diabetes.

September 16, 2013

Garmin Unveils Forerunner GPS Watches With Color Displays

Garmin Forerunner 620

Garmin has two new fitness gadgets intended to help you improve your run. The company's colorful Forerunner lineup provides a "coach in every watch," sending stats to a dashboard and offering feedback.

The Forerunner 620 and 220 each include 1-inch Chrome color displays. The battery can last up to six weeks in watch mode and up to 10 hours in training mode, Garmin said. Both are water-resistant to 50m, surviving more than just rain, sweat and splashes.

The 620 (left) sports a touch screen that responds to running gloves, while the 220 (below) has push buttons.

Both offer connected features via Bluetooth, which can wirelessly send stats to Garmin Connect via an app on compatible smartphones. When paired with a phone, the Forerunner's live-tracking feature allows friends to follow along with a friend's run in real time. Updates can also be posted to social media accounts, and the Forerunner will alert runners when they hit milestones like fastest mile or longest run, as well as 5K, 10K, half, or full marathon.

January 7, 2013

Fitbit Announces Wristband Activity Tracker Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex

Digital fitness and health company Fitbit has announced a new activity tracker to its lineup, a wristband that will sync via Bluetooth 4.0 to iOS devices and select Android devices, as well as PCs and Macs, called Fitbit Flex.

Fitbit Flex is available for pre-order today on for $99.95 and is scheduled to begin shipping sometime in the first half of the year.

Similar to the Fitbit One and the now retired Fitbit Ultra, the new Fitbit Flex tracks how many steps you take in a day, total distance travelled, and calories burned, as well as how much sleep you get at night.

The Fitbit line of devices work in conjunction with a well-established Web portal and mobile app that let you add more personal health metrics, such as weight and blood pressure, and count calories to help keep your diet and weight in check. It also has a system that lets you record exercise that the Fitbit gadgets cannot record accurately, such as swimming and cycling, to account for additional calories burned.