Blog: This New Health Tracker Could Also Be Your New Wallet



With the Internet of Things continuing to expand at a huge rate, more and more companies are catching on to the idea of wearable technology. To be truly successful with such technology though and to really grasp people’s attention (and make money), the market offering must be a lot more than just ‘cool’ or ‘the very latest thing in wearable tech’.

These days’ products must provide people with a clear benefit. Consumers are wise to the game of being sold something purely because it ‘has all the latest technology’ and this is where Jawbone seems to have cracked the market.

Jawbone, a world leader in consumer technology and wearable devices released its first activity tracker wristband in 2011. People have now been waiting for the UP3 for some time but to counter this delay, Jawbone is now releasing its UP2 and UP4 tracker devices at the same time as the UP3. The UP2 is set to perform as a scaled-down version of the UP3 but without a doubt, the most exciting news stems from the launch of the UP4.

All of the Jawbone tracker devices offer people an easy way to track weight loss or their fitness, from tracking the wearer’s sleep and food intake to heart health and providing a way to log and account for each exercise activity.

However, with the UP4, Jawbone are really making their mark, since this device offers a lot more than the activity tracking detailed above. This model makes the most of Internet of Things and wearable tech and now allows its users to pay for goods in store via a simple tap at the checkout. (American Express users only at the moment. Jawbone have declined to comment on whether they will expand the service to include other payment providers)

We have seen this tap-to-pay technology before with a number of smartphones and more recently, smartwatches but Jawbone is, very possibly, the first fitness-focused company to venture down this path. This is perhaps surprising, given how many people must have come up against the old problem of going out for a run and forgetting to take water…or even worse a wallet!

The UP4 provides a solution to such problems, since it combines the fitness activity tracker function with the e-wallet function, which is made possible by the embedded NFC chip and payment credentials being added to the Jawbone app. At $199.99, it is also a lot cheaper than buying a smartwatch, as well as a lot less chunky!

Wearing a wristband such as the UP4 will help you do many things, not least keep track of how far you’ve walked (or run), how long you’ve slept for and how well you are doing with your healthy food intake. The tracker will also show you how your activities compare to other people who are using the Jawbone app and advise you on how to improve.

Of course it remains to be seen how its standout feature of tap-to-pay works out but intuition tells us that users are going to love this additional function, just wait and see!

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