As mobile applications for fitness have becoming mainstream, developers continue to look for ways to make interaction with both the mobile device, and application easier. One way to increase user engagement is to automatically track data and send it to the mobile application. A host of devices have sprung up that track personal metrics and then send them into a logging application. While most devices have their own proprietary software application (mobile, computer or web based), many third party health and wellness applications are integrating their APIs to pull data from these devices. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Fitbit: The ‘Fitbit Classic’ was introduced in 2008 tracked steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, intensity of activity and sleep patterns. This was replaced by the ‘Fitbit Ultra’ in 2011 which can included upgrades like an altimeter, stopwatch, and digital clock. Last fall, the ‘Fitbit One’ launched and includes wireless syncing via Bluetooth, directly to Apple devices. Fitbit has announced they are releasing a wrist band product called the ‘Fitbit Flex’ later this spring. (BettrLife currently integrates with Fibbit)
- Jawbone Up: Best known for its Bluetooth headset, Jawbone entered the health monitoring device market in 2011 wiht much fanfare. Unfortunately, the product was plagued early battery issues, but the device was re-released last fall and has rapidly gained market-share. Jawbone Up is a band that users wear on their wrist. In addition to tracking steps and sleep, the device vibrates to remind people when they’ve been ‘idle’ too long. Just this week, Jawbone announced they had purchased mobile health start-up, Massive Health. While Jawbone already has a simple mobile app, Massive Health’s development team should provide more advanced development of their own mobile applications.
- Nike +: Nike first experimented with fitness tracking back in 2006 when they released a sensor that fit in Nike shoes and synced with an iPod. This device tracked time of workout, distance traveled, and calories burned. Fast forward to today, and Nike has a solid integrated platform with its Fuel Band and SportWatch GPS, both of which work seamlessly with an app available for free download. Nike has partnered closely with Apple to ensure seamless integration. They also recently opened their API so their party developers can pull data from the Fuel Band and SportWatch GPS into their applications.