The latest health monitor hitting the market comes from Jawbone, a company that has made its name by designing wireless headsets for phones. Called the Jawbone Up, the wrist-worn device launches on Nov. 6 for $99. Similar to the company’s prior products, the Up looks sleek and fashionable while being functional: Up measures activity, sleep and nutrition.
We first heard about Up earlier this year, not long after Jawbone raised $70 million in funding, and it’s the first non-audio Jawbone product. The device is meant to be worn on the wrist every hour of the day and night, so it’s good that the internal battery lasts for 10 days. One way to offer such battery life is to eliminate power-hungry wireless functions, which is exactly what Jawbone did. Up uses a standard 3.5 millimeter headphone jack to transfer data to a complementary iPhone application.
The monitoring system focuses on three key health areas: Exercise and general activity; sleep amounts and sleep cycles; food tracking. A motion sensor is used for both activity and sleep, while the iPhone application is used to track nutrition; you simply take photos of your meals and add notes as needed. The motion sensor doubles as a silent alarm clock to help wake you at an appropriate time in your natural sleep cycle. Plus the sensor acts as a quiet reminder to get you moving from time to time.
Jawbone is smartly integrating social aspects and challenges into the Up system as well. Friends with the Up can see your daily accomplishments, which as I’ve found through my daily running, can be a positive influence. I often live-stream my long runs or races, for example, knowing that some are watching, which pushes me towards certain goals. Challenges such as walking a certain number of steps or eating an apple will help motivate Up owners as well.
I like what Jawbone is doing by branching out their core business into the health monitoring area. We’re starting to see a greater number of small devices packed with sensors that can help us better understand and monitor our sleep, eating and exercise habits. In fact, this trend is a key focus point for our GigaOM RoadMap event later this month. One of our sessions is devoted to the connected body, and Jawbone’s CEO and Founder, Hosain Rahman is one of our speakers.