The folks at Jawbone continue to expand beyond their iconic Jawbone Bluetooth headset line. About a year ago, they introduced the Jambox – a versatile, portable Bluetooth speaker… that I picked up on discount. And now they’ve totally left Bluetooth and audio behind with the introduction of UP ($100), which is something of a lifestyle monitoring wrist band.
In many ways, UP is similar in concept to the Fitbit ($100) and other supercharged pedometers for the digital age. At the most basic level, these devices track steps via an integrated accelerometer. Additionally, through a clever interpretation of vibration, they also attempt to grade your sleep patterns based on movement. But whereas the Fitbit is an accessory that clips to something on your person, the Jawbone UP (review) is a water resistant wristband designed to be worn full time. Another notable difference: Instead of syncing wirelessly, UP hides an iPhone-compatible headphone adapter for data transfer duties… which is convenient for iPhone (or iPad and iPod Touch) owners. But every other smartphone owner (or non-smartphone owner) is out of luck.
Despite the potential platform limitation, UP offers two other notable features over the Fitbit. Jawbone provides a silent, vibrating “smart” alarm within the wristband — although to be most useful, we’re going to need to distinguish weekdays from weekends. Also, via the companion iOS app, UP mates a GPS-tracked route to the steps taken for what would probably be a highly accurate representation of a real-world walk or run.
I briefly owned the Fitbit, but wasn’t impressed by its accuracy or integrated clip… that actually requires an additional holster (included) to overcome. Also, at the time Fitbit didn’t provide a complete mobile website or app. And I’m finding the Jawbone UP a better fit(bit) for my lifestyle. Yet, do I really need a $100 gadget to tell me if I’ve been active or had a good night sleep? Not sure…