Pebble updates health tracking features on app and device

By Jonah Comstock

Smartwatch company Pebble, which has had a renewed focus on health and fitness features since last May, released a major update to its app and firmware, once again focused on health features. The Verge first spotted the update. 

Basically, Pebble has made it easier for users to access their health features. Now one tap on the watch face brings up activity and sleep results in a redesigned format. Another tap brings up a graph that compares the user's current performance to the previous week. Additionally, graphs on the Android and iOS companion apps have been made clearer and easier to understand. 

Fitness has long been a part of Pebble's offering since its 2012 Kickstarter launch, which was followed almost immediately by an integration with Runkeeper. (Runkeeper was recently acquired by Japanese shoe company ASICS). Pebble has since integrated with Misfit and Jawbone as well. But the company made a more earnest turn toward health in December of last year, when it launched the Pebble Health app. The app tracks users’ activity and automatically detects their sleep phases and sends the data to Timeline, Pebble’s user interface. 

Then in March, shortly after having to lay off 25 percent of its workforce due, it was widely speculated, to Apple's influence on the smartwatch market, the company declared a new focus on health and fitness.

"The roadmap for Pebble Health only gets rosier," Pebble community manager Joseph Kristoffer wrote at the time. "Future updates will include insights for running activities and a dedicated Health section in the Pebble smartphone app, featuring your activity history. We want as many people as possible living more actively and sleeping better with Pebble Health. Making the Time-series watches with Pebble Health more affordable is a big step in that direction."

Today's updates are the latest in a series of efforts to improve Pebble's health functionality. The last big update, in May, included auto detection of long walks and runs, and smart alarms that aim to wake the user during their their lightest phase of sleep, as well as more contextual information.