6 Comments

Summary:

Not to be outdone by Nike, UnderArmour has a new wearable exercise tracking strap. The Armour39 measures calories and heart rate, combining those with additional data to create your, ahem, WILLPower score.

armour39

Even at this early stage of the wearable device market, companies are already trying to differentiate their products while also capitalizing on brand loyalty. For example, Nike’s Fuel band tracks activities and calories burned, turning those data points into “fuel” points. UnderArmour is joining the game with its own gadget called the Armour39 Fitness Strap, but it can’t measure fuel, since Nike already does. So instead, the Armour39 calculates your “WILLPower.”

The $149.99 chest strap is available now for pre-order with delivery this spring. A module in the strap tracks and stores up to 16 hours of heart rate and caloric information. The data can transfer to an optional $199.99 watch or to a mobile phone app on handsets that are Bluetooth Smart capable. The product page explains WILLPower as the combination of “how long you workout, what you did, profile info like gender and weight, and key heart rate measures to give you a single score.”

armor39 app

If I don’t sound enamored by artificial scores for basic fitness data, it’s because I’m not. These numbers only hide the real data that people should know about: caloric expenditure, heart rate training zones, etc. I’m all for simplifying such information if it helps people work out with fewer complications, don’t misunderstand. But as each new health gadget comes to market, it appears as though the real difference is the fake scoring system that’s easiest to market. It just seems silly to me.

I don’t doubt you can get healthier with a Fuel band, Armour39 or other similar device. However, I’ll stick with the basics: A Bluetooth 4.0 heart monitor strap that works with basic apps and a smart watch or phone to actually tell me my heart rate and calories burned.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. They are making up names for their metrics because none of them accurately measure calories, etc. In a way it is good, because there is a lot of misrepresentation and garbage data in this space that just confuses customers. Why not just make up a stupid metric like fuel or will power, neither of which are even good analogs for what they are really trying to measure…

  2. I think you’re missing the point. The average consumer doesn’t even pretend to understand those metrics (heart rate training zones?!). Maybe they’ll get there in due time, but meanwhile there’s an obesity problem running rampant in this country if you haven’t noticed. So if effective branding or social media APIs get someone off the couch who otherwise would have loafed, what gives you the right to be a hater??

    1. MJ is right…Ya’ll some haters… These devices give you enough basic info for basic people to understand. I don’t think they are trying to provide an alternative for you “super” health nuts that want it to tell you your blood type and how many crunches you are from 1000, its there for the newb that wants get active and wants easy to understand information about their workout habits.

    2. Perzactly.

  3. It’s a glorified heart rate monitor. Go check on POLAR products they’ve been doing that much longer and are very well respected for what they do. As far as this product goes, I can only compare it to the Nike FuelBand, for the way they are measuring levels of exercise. Fuel vs Will. Sounds very arcade like to me. In any case, I am aware of which zones my BPM (beats per minute) need to be for fat burning vs Cardiovascular training, soo… Cutting to my point — We need to EDUCATE the public instead of trying to capitalize on their ignorance when it comes to healthy levels of activity, exercise and DIET+Sleep. Only then, the true results will show and we won’t need bogus numbers, we will see it and KNOW it . Having said that, I don’t think it is the end of the road for products like this and until one comes out that is actually worth the steep price tag, i’ll stick to what’s been working for me until now, Actual Will Power.

  4. You are missing the point. These help motivate people who don’t do that much YET. I bought the Fuel Band for my 14 year old son who doesn’t move enough in a day. The psychological point that this item triggers is like a game. You try and better your score every day. You have something to compare with comrades and cohorts. I have the Jawbone Up and it is good for me to see an increase in my movement and my sleep. If we were competitive athletes on some level (for me if I was 20 years younger when I was into training) I would buy the Pear Personal Intelligent Trainer. The simple bracelet devices are great for the average person to encourage an increase in activity and track progress. They are always one. The ones that go around the chest are for people training while training. Two different ideas. They may not accurately measure calories, etc. but as long as they are consistent in measuring against themselves, they will show progress and that is what it is all about.

Comments have been disabled for this post