Staying Fit While Traveling [Redux] – Fitbit Tracker Ships Soon2 min read
Back in March I wrote about MapMyRun and RunKeeper, two web sites that have companion iPhone apps that help track some of your fitness activities. I still recommend these but have come across a new product that just started filling its pre-orders and will ship new orders beginning October 31st.
It is called the Fitbit Tracker and is a small, wireless device that measures the quantity and quality of physical activities like walking, running and sleeping. You may ask why you would want something else to lug around when your phone can already do some of these things. Good question. Sometimes a single-purpose device is better than an all-in-one. The Fitbit is much smaller and lighter than a cell phone, its battery lasts over 10 days on a single charge, it has a cool OLED display, oh and did I mention that it tracks your sleep?
Paired with the Tracker is a well thought-out web site that wirelessly and automatically captures all of the data from the device and also allows one to enter in additional information like food consumed, other activities that the Tracker won’t track (don’t take this swimming with you), one’s vital statistics and personal goals. It looks to have all the requisite social features as well so that one can share and compare with others a la financial data on Mint.
I am intrigued with learning more about my sleeping habits and how much I walk during the course of a normal day. I will finally see if the long walks down the corridor at work are a net positive or negative — as they often lead to a colleague’s candy jar. It is $99 on their site and will be available in retail stores in the future. There are some competitors in this space, but I think its combination of size, functionality and price make it a winner. If anyone is looking for what to get me for the upcoming holidays, look no further (unless, you are willing to go for the new Beatles Box Set, stereo version please).
As an aside, I saw that Fitbit founder James Park has been blogging throughout the design and production process. They have uncovered and addressed a multitude of problems (all normal in the course of introducing a new product in my opinion) over the last year or so. It is a great view of what it takes to get a low cost consumer electronics product out the door and recommended reading for anyone interested in the subject. It is too bad other companies aren’t as transparent. Can you imagine this from Apple?