Wearable Technology in Action: The Jawbone UP Preview
They may not be on the level of what Apple and Google are developing in the way of wearable technology, but there’s a growing list of vendors creating devices that mix fashion with technology. One example: the UP device from Jawbone. As a proud new owner of the UP device, I’m offering up the preliminary scoop on the wristband and a few key things you should know if you’re thinking of buying one.
Here’s the first thing you should know about the Jawbone UP: While it’s still on store shelves in limited quantities, UP production has essentially been halted due to the devices either breaking apart or simply not working. Jawbone is giving everyone a complete refund on the device, direct from its website, no questions asked. You can still keep the device, you just have to promise the company that you won’t double-dip with a refund from Jawbone and then a refund from your retail outlet.
It’s an inauspicious start to Jawbone’s first foray away from headsets and into “fitness technology.” But Jawbone working on redesigning the entire band, and with a good-faith effort and its super-easy refund, there’s a good chance users will buy the redesigned product. But what about the product available (sort of) getting right now? UP is a rubberized wristband with a button on one end and a cap on the other concealing a 3.5mm headphone plug, which is how the UP communicates with your iPhone and the free UP app. It’s actually quite simple to use: Charge your UP, sync it with your iPhone, and wear it all day, every day, even in the shower.
UP keeps track of the number of steps you take, the intensity of your workouts and the pattern of your sleep cycle. If you’re inclined, you also can use the UP app to track your food intake and how you feel after you’ve eaten it. The idea is to provide biometric feedback on your daily activity and help you lose weight or stay fit.
My primary interest in the device was for the weight-loss potential, but also the sleep cycle tracker. UP includes a tiny vibration motor, which, when activated, will wake you up during the best period of time inside your sleep cycle. You pick a 30-minute time period during which you want to wake up, and UP will make sure you don’t get shocked out of a deep sleep.
I have to say, it works brilliantly. UP estimates your movement during the night and can tell the difference between time awake in bed, super deep sleep and light sleep. The aggregated information is then displayed to you on an easy-to-read time graph, providing a rare glimpse into the quality of your sleep. In the three short days I’ve used it, I’ve found it incredibly helpful for determining the quality of my daily activity and the quality of my sleep, both of which have a direct relationship on my level of productivity for blogging and more. What I’ll be checking out inside the next week is both the food tracking and the workout activity tracking.
While my preliminary recommendation for those interested is to wait to buy the new version of the device, if you end up receiving one as a holiday gift, get the refund but keep the device. Jawbone promises it will replace any broken devices, even if you get the refund. It’s a win-win situation.
Meanwhile, if you have any specific questions or any specific tasks you’d like for me to perform with the Jawbone UP, let me know. I’ll make sure sedentary VARs who are eyeing the device as a way to shape up can get the best possible review. Stay tuned.