Five months after it debuted an app for iOS(s aapl), the team at Fitbit has followed up with a version for Android(s goog) smartphones and tablets. The free software works on Android 2.1 or better and works in conjunction with the Fitbit Wireless Tracker, a small $99 sensor that tracks steps, flights of stairs walked, and hours of sleep.
Fitbit’s new app doesn’t actually track any activity, but instead lets users view their Fitbit stats on the go. All tracking data is handled by Fitbit’s wearable hardware, which syncs to a user’s account on a Windows PC(s msft) or Mac computer. So this free software doesn’t take the place of the $99 sensor; it simply offers a convenient method to view activity and sleep data.
Still, this doesn’t mean the new Fitbit app isn’t handy and useful by itself. The software does assist with monitoring food and water intake. By tracking daily calories within the app, the Fitbit software tells you how many more calories you have available left in your daily, healthy limit and if you need to be drinking more water.
Fitbit’s sensor and new app are part of a growing trend: Smarter, connected devices are building a market for health-monitoring. ABI Research recently estimated this to be a $400 million industry by 2016; up from $120 million this year. As more mobile apps are created to use internal phone sensors or low-powered external gadgets, the smartphone will continue to be the core device for the web, apps and even our health.
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.