How does a wearables company survive being Sherlocked? Jawbone has some ideas.
In the business world, Apple entering your product category is a little bit like a tsunami crashing into a home aquarium. What had previously seemed like a nice, small and self-contained ecosystem suddenly runs the risk of being obliterated by a giant wave-maker.
When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch at Apple’s recent media event, the crowd went wild. But exciting as it was for consumers, it represents a seismic shift for the currently $330 million wearable tech industry.
Devices that can serve up smartphone notifications, track fitness goals and even advise us on health matters have the potential to be huge — but they’re not yet. That’s about to change, according to Juniper Research, which forecasts that wearable devices like smartwatches could hit sales of $19 billion by 2018.
What happens to Apple’s marketplace rivals as this sea change takes place? Cult of Mac did some digging to find out how companies like Jawbone and Fitbit plan to survive Apple’s smartwatch revolution.
Brendan Nee, an engineer at Automatic Labs, designed an app to get people out of their cars, even though he doesn’t have one to get into. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — Brendan Nee is a walking contradiction. He’s car guru who doesn’t own one, a 21st-century geek with an 18th-century mustache who has come up with a novel bit of nagware that could help Americans get off their spreading behinds.
An engineer working on “smart car assistant” Automatic, he spends many of his weekends at hackathons and has a coder’s physique to show for it. In January, he won the Clinton Foundation Code4Health Codeathon by developing a working prototype of an app called Walkoff in just a weekend. A few months later, Nee and team rolled out a more polished version that mashes up the data Automatic pulls from cars with info gathered by a Jawbone Up fitness tracker, showing a user how much time they’re spending behind the wheel versus walking.
“Clearly, without an actual car, I’m not the ideal tester,” admits Nee. The closest he comes to owning a set of wheels is a retired public bus dubbed the PlayaPillar that he only rolls out for Burning Man.
As the nation grows more obese yet car culture still rules, here’s the nudge of the hour: your car and your fitness app talking to each other, reminding you that you’re not moving enough.
Automatic’s smart driving assistant can turn your old hunk of junk into a smart car, but the company announced today that it’s teamed up with Jawbone to whip your belly rolls into shape by giving drivers more insight into how your physical activity and driving patterns are connected.
Jawbone has announced the UP24, a tweaked version of its troubled UP activity-tracking wristband. It’s mostly the same, with a cool futuristic look and $150 price tag. The difference is that it now uses “Bluetooth Smart,” which lets it communicate with your iPhone in real time to send alerts and notifications.
But what’s really interesting is that it now has a rather useful IFTTT channel.
Jawbone has today launched a new platform for iOS that allows third-party apps to work with your Up wristband. The API is called the Up Platform, and provides access to all of your fitness data, including steps, calories, and distance traveled.
The Up Platform has already been integrated into ten iOS apps, including IFTTT, LoseIt, Maxwell Health, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, Notch, RunKeeper, Sleepio, Wello, and Withings.
The Big Jambox is pretty much the rockingest portable Bluetooth speaker you can get, but at $299, it’s not cheap. If you don’t mind a couple of minor aesthetic blemishes, though, you can now get a Big Jambox for about the price of the regular Jambox: around $158.
The deal is being made over at All4Cellular, which is offering the Big Jambox speaker (refurbished) for about half off in Graphite Hex and White Wave colors. They might come with a few dents and scratches, but they’ll sound just the same and come fully covered with a 90 day warranty.
It’s taken well over a year, but the Jawbone UP finally has an official companion app in Google Play. The device has only been compatible with iOS devices since it launched in November 2011, but now you can track your sleep and physical activity on Android-powered smartphones, too.
Furthermore, starting today, UP will be available in Apple stores across Europe.
This small Bluetooth speaker looks remarkably like the iconic Jawbone Jambox, arguably the most popular ultra-portable Bluetooth speaker on the market right now. And just like the Jambox, it can be used to stream music and make calls. It even comes in what looks like the same colors — or very similar colors — the Jambox comes in.
But look more closely, and you’ll see small cosmetic differences — because this isn’t the Jambox. It’s the Urge Basics Sound Brick, and it has one very big difference with the Jambox: it’s less than one-third the price.
The Jawbone UP wristband first launched back in 2011, and it became quite a popular product. Everyone wanted to get their hands on the fitness- and sleep-tracking iPhone accessory, which came with plenty of promise. Unfortunately, it launched with all kinds of problems, too — including water leaks and inflexible components that broke too easily — and Jawbone was forced to pull it.
The company’s now giving the device a second shot. Today it announced the second-generation Jawbone UP, which is now shipping for $129.99.