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Fitbit unveils Force fitness tracking wristband with iOS 7 notifications

post #1 of 10
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The quantified self movement met the smartwatch market on Thursday as Fitbit took the covers off their new Force wristband, combining activity and sleep tracking with wrist-borne notifications over Bluetooth.

Fitbit Force


With the Force, Fitbit has taken the wireless synchronization and altimeter --?used to count how many stairs the wearer has climbed --?from their clip-on One device and combined them with the industrial design and form factor of the company's Flex wristband. The Force appears at first glance to be a slightly larger version of the Flex, but it has a few key differences.

Most notably, the Force features an integrated OLED display, a first for a wrist-worn activity tracker. The display is used to give the wearer instant statistical feedback for metrics like steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned alongside the wearer's progress toward their daily goals and the current time.

The display has another hidden --?and surprising --?use. In one of the first announced implementations of iOS 7's new Apple Notification Center Service, it will also notify the wearer of incoming phone calls from an iPhone 4S or above. Though the feature is not available at launch, Fitbit says it will be "available soon."

Fitbit Force


Bluetooth low energy (BLE) figures prominently on the device, enabling the ANCS-powered call notifications and allowing the Force to synchronize wirelessly with BLE-enabled smartphones and tablets. By syncing wirelessly in the background, the user's data will be preloaded when they launch the Fitbit app on their mobile device and there will be no need to wait.

Sleep tracking metrics and vibrating alarm are included in the Force as well. The wristband will track the wearer's movements while they sleep, reporting on how long the wearer slept and periods of restlessness, and wake them with a subtle vibration. The Force does not have the ability to wake the wearer within a range of times based on the wearer's sleep cycles, however, a useful feature found in Jawbone's competitive Up wristband.

Fitbit CEO and co-founder James Park said that the company is proud of what it has accomplished with the Force.

"We are continuously looking for ways to take wireless tracking devices and wearable technologies to the next level, and I feel strongly that Force, with its sophisticated design and instant and easy access to all your daily activity right on your wrist, delivers on the promise of what a next-generation activity tracker should be," he said.

The Fitbit Force is available for pre-order in two colors --?black or slate --?and two sizes from Fitbit's online store.
post #2 of 10
Maybe it's fun to put it around my piepie and call myself but I really don't see any use for it on my wrist. My 'daily motion' of taking the stairs is a normal thing in life, and when I actually work out I have my iPhone and (crappy) Garmin devices with me.
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post #3 of 10
Based on the images (can't do a comparison of feel) I say this is something I can see Apple doing, which makes me think Apple's will be even better (assuming they release one).

I do wish it monitored other vitals, like pulse rate, but for the size and design I think it's the best we've seen so far, providing he battery life and charging method is as promising.

edit: Says the battery lasts 7 to 10 days. A week is the minimum I'd accept for purchasing one. I think I might actually buy this!
Edited by akqies - 10/10/13 at 11:01am
post #4 of 10
I had the Fitbit One and moved to the Flex. The Flex has quirks that one did not (like not counting steps when pushing a shopping cart or strollers). Flex didn't count stairs either. This appears more like a One around your wrist. Early reviews are good. I'll be switching when it comes out.
post #5 of 10

I wonder if FitBit could do a punch-tracking feature?  Measuring the calories burnt during a punching bag and/or karate kata workout.  That would be cool.

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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post

Based on the images (can't do a comparison of feel) I say this is something I can see Apple doing, which makes me think Apple's will be even better (assuming they release one).

I do wish it monitored other vitals, like pulse rate, but for the size and design I think it's the best we've seen so far, providing he battery life and charging method is as promising.

edit: Says the battery lasts 7 to 10 days. A week is the minimum I'd accept for purchasing one. I think I might actually buy this!

Vitals are critical path for a $100+ device.   And getting it FDA approved for stuff like heart rate, BP, and ideally, Blood Sugar.

 

The really cool thing would be thermic and/or motion charging.   I know that the latter is a thing that breaks… but a little flywheel that has generates mW of power would be doable.  Exothermic would be nice too…. If the Swedish Army has developed this...

 

I'm sure someone at Apple can do better!!!!!

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

Vitals are critical path for a $100+ device.   And getting it FDA approved for stuff like heart rate, BP, and ideally, Blood Sugar.

The really cool thing would be thermic and/or motion charging.   I know that the latter is a thing that breaks… but a little flywheel that has generates mW of power would be doable.  Exothermic would be nice too…. If the Swedish Army has developed this...

Once the power requirements are low enough I'd think we'd be able to get self-charging wearable devices the way we have self-winding watches. I guess the question is how low would the power have to be?


BTW, I just pre-ordered my Fitbit Force, but I'm questioning that move now in the off chance Apple releases their own come October 22nd. That would be an awesome stocking stuffer.
post #8 of 10
I love its sleek minimalist styling and that sleep monitoring function could be very useful for me too, together with its other functionality. I'm very interested in purchasing this.
post #9 of 10
Does this do heart rate? Do any of these devise to heart rate?
post #10 of 10

Dammit... I was literally about to order one of these until I read this line...

 

"The Force does not have the ability to wake the wearer within a range of times based on the wearer's sleep cycles, however, a useful feature found in Jawbone's competitive Up wristband."

 

That is so disappointing!! It's such a useful feature and would seem to be such an obvious thing to do given the device is tracking sleep and has vibrate to wake up built in?? I'm astonished they would leave this out.

 

Sigh. Well, hopefully Apple's device will include this - just annoying to have to wait. My fuelband has been an interesting toe in the water but I'm ready for significantly more functionality.

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