14 Comments

Summary:

These are the companies, startups and giants alike, that are changing or could potentially change the mobile landscape in the most profound ways.

The-mobile-15-logo

FitBit

CEO: James Park

Number of employees: More than 100

The business:

FitBit is a $100 wearable health-tracking device that connects to the Internet.

The backstory:

The FitBit was a pioneer in the personal fitness tracking market. It launched in 2008 and delivered its first-generation wearable pedometer, which also monitored a person’s sleep activity, a year later. Despite a privacy snafu in 2011 when many users discovered that the activities they tracked in their profiles online were automatically set to be public, the device has continued to gain market share among not just early adopters but non techies as well.

The innovation:

Like the Nintendo Wii, it contained an accelerometer that tracks steps, and a proprietary wireless radio that sends the information to the tracking website. The most recent iteration of the device has even more sensors, including an altimeter and a watch. FitBit has done two things really well. It has created a relatively cheap and easy-to-use personal tracker for the masses, and it now is building out a platform for health and wellness to sell to its users.

The plan:

FitBit is continuing its quest for users. Even by late last year, it was already in about half of Best Buy stores, and a large number of customers there had heard of it, despite a lack of advertising by FitBit – which is a major feat for a startup brand. Now, with the launch of its Aria scale during the summer of 2012, its beginning to seque into other devices and products that connect to the FitBit website and tracker. The challenge for FitBit is fending off competition from devices such as Nike’s FuelBand, which has the huge Nike marketing machine behind it, and making more consumers feel like their steps and sleep are worth tracking.

Disclosure: Fitbit is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

—SH

firstpage of 16
  1. Tapit were Winners @ 2012 AIMIA for Best New Service in innovation – NFC

    http://www.mobileawards.com. au/MA2012/entry_details.asp? ID=10757&Category_ID=4852)

    Share
  2. Check out this slide deck titled “A Catalog of Mobile Device Innovations”

    http://www.slideshare.net/timhigg/catalog-of-mobile-device-innovations-92012

    Share
  3. Surya Narayanan Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    Sadly you have not looked at the emerging markets hard enough. You would have found very interesting examples including Safaricom’s m-pesa which is by the larger than Western Union Money Transfer. Please look to create a more inclusive list..

    Share
    1. It would have been good to consider the social impact of innovations. There are so many innovative mobile companies out there, but if they don’t make people’s lives better then do they really answer the “so what?” test. M-PESA is a great example of a mobile innovation that has changed millions of people’s lives and is helping to create a vibrant mobile ecosystem. Its influence can be seen in every mobile wallet/banking/payments initiative the world over.
      If you don’t know M-PESA, read this: http://mobithinking.com/country-guides-home/guide-mobile-web-kenya

      Share
  4. all of your links to the “Mobile 15″ are broken

    Share
    1. Thanks, this is fixed.

      Share
  5. Alcatel – Lucent and Nokia? You’ve got to be kidding me…Why not add RIM and MySpace too..

    Share
  6. With Windows 8 just around the corner its bizarre that Microsoft didn’t make the list.

    Share
  7. Have you ever heard of republic wireless?

    Share
  8. I did not realize GigiOm was this desperate for money

    Share
  9. Including Nokia and **not** Qualcomm renders your list laughable, and from the entire staff to boot ? No need reading any further and further questions the value of anything Gigaom.com?

    Jim M

    Share
  10. Great innovation! Glad to see Thinfilm on the short list!

    Share
  11. What an amazing story. I had the luck to meet all of the team yesterday, and today at #SEMICONEuropa http://twitter.com/SEMICONEuropa here in Dresden, Germany

    Share
  12. Amazing folks – currently in Dresden at http://Twitter.com/SEMICONEuropa – had the pleasure to talk to them, and learn more about this amazing product. Well deserved!!!

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post