Striiv pedometer goes wireless, gets social

Striiv, a smart pedometer that uses game mechanics to motivate people, is getting updated Wednesday with a new personal wireless connection that lets users encourage and compete with each other. With the new Striiv Connected social component, Striiv is moving beyond a more solo experience and utilizing relationships to help further drive users.

With the updated Striiv, users will be able to connect over a personal wireless network that works over unlicensed spectrum for a short distance. When connected, users can exchange their personal best and averages and issue activity challenges with Striiv Energy or real prizes like chores or coffee awarded to the winner. The activities can be conducted together or separately with the winner determined when the two devices are synced. Users will also get bonus points or a trophy for that day when they beat a friends average or personal best. Striiv Connected will work with existing Striiv devices though at a shorter range.

Expanding beyond single player

Previously, Striiv used activities like walkathons, personal challenges and a Farmville-like game called MyLand to help motivate people. MyLand is also getting updated with new characters, plants, and structures. CEO and founder David Wang told me that while the older tools have been very effective, social can be a big motivator for users, providing upping usage by 20-30 percent.

In many ways, the update to Striiv continues to play to the company’s target audience. While other fitness devices like Nike FuelBand and Motorola’s MotoActv appeal to people who are more athletic or desire more data about themselves, Striiv is really designed to appeal to the same crowd that turns to many Zynga games. Wang tells me the average Striiv user is a woman in her 40s who is borderline overweight.

Fitness for the Zynga crowd

For these users, it’s not so much about the data as the experience, he said. That’s what motivates them, he said. As we reported earlier, users are  checking their Striiv 29 times a day on average,in many cases to monitor their progress in MyLand, which is powered by their own activity. Striiv users are also walking nearly 60 minutes per day and logging 3 miles per day. Now, with the option of competing with others, there’s more incentive to keep fit.

“We think social is the biggest dial-mover,” Wang said. “It used to be about beating your personal best but now, you can be constantly motivated to do better. This adds a new catalyst.”

I think Striiv is a really interesting take on fitness devices for the kind of people who wouldn’t normally buy a fitness gadget. The added social component is a natural extension and should be a big help, provided a user has friends who also have a Striiv. The new Striiv sells for $99.95 at, HSN,, Amazon, and and will go on sale in Best Buy stores on April 29.