Jawbone’s Up3 and Up Move add to wearable fitness market

5 Nov 2014

Jawbone’s Up3 brings BodyMedia’s technology to the fore, with Up Move acting as a stepping stone for consumers not yet ready for wearables.

Still yet to bring out it’s own smartwatch, wearable tech and audio equipment maker Jawbone’s latest two products remain in a fitness-device area of technology which has seen so many new launches of late – Microsoft’s Band, and Sony’s Smartwatch 2 to name but a few – but it’s not available just yet.

It’s been 18 months since Jawbone acquired health technology player BodyMedia for an estimated US$100m. At the time, Jawbone also unveiled an Up wristband and iOS app ecosystem for fitness fans.

Since then a lot has changed and now the Up3 and Up Move devices are profiting from the advanced technology brought by that acquisition. The Up3, notably slimmer than Microsoft’s recently-released Band, can now monitor users across an array of categories.

Presumably down to that merger with BodyMedia, the Up3 incorporates a whole raft of new technology, such as a tri-axis accelerometer, a bioimpedance sensor, as well as skin and ambient temperature sensors. It can react to new activities that the wearer has previously not undertaken and allows for greater analysis of your sleeping patterns.

Bioimpedance is a type of sensor that measures the resistance of bio tissue (skin, ligaments, muscle, etc.) to tiny electrical signals. Because of changes in resistance with blood flow, it is able to measure heart rate, respiration rate and galvanic skin response.

Up3 – making giant leaps

“The original Up had the slimmest form factor on the wrist of any device on the market, enabling maximum wrist movement and making it incredibly comfortable,” says the company.

“With Up3, we have gone even further and explored hundreds of internal component and sensor layouts, resulting in different widths and lengths of the band. These prototypes, often differing by as little as .3mm, were judged for comfort, size impression and proportions before we selected the optimal ergonomics for a variety of wrist sizes.”

Up Move, via Jawbone

Elsewhere, with a reported six months of battery life, the Up Move offers most of the features from Jawbone’s other bands – movement tracking – but it lacks vibration notifications and smart alarm clock.

The fact that Jawbone’s Up products require an app, downloaded to a separate device (smartphone), may dissuade some fitness fans. But considering the advancements since taking BodyMedia under its wing, perhaps Jawbone knows what it’s doing…

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic