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Jawbone's New Fitness Trackers: A High-End Design and a Cheap Gateway

Courtesy Jawbone
Wearable tech startup Jawbone will release two new products this fall. There will be a new version of the Up health-monitoring wristband, and the company will introduce an entry-level device that can be strapped to the wrist or attached to clothing.

Announced on Wednesday, the Up3 is a big improvement over Jawbone’s earlier wristbands. It has new sensors to measure heart rate and respiration, as well as body and room temperature. The sensor technology comes from BodyMedia, a health-monitoring startup Jawbone bought last year. BodyMedia’s own products have been certified as clinical devices by the Food and Drug Administration. While Jawbone isn’t seeking similar status for its wristband, the added tech moves it far beyond the capabilities of earlier versions of the product, and of competing brands offering cheap step-counting bands.

Courtesy Jawbone
But Jawbone’s main competitor, Fitbit, hasn’t been sitting pat. Last month it introduced its own wristband that monitors heart rate, called the Charge HR, and it will hit markets next year. Both companies are trying to offer the capabilities of more advanced wearable devices targeting serious athletes, while sacrificing the most sophisticated aspects of data collection to maintain the lengthy battery life needed in a device designed to be worn 24 hours a day.