Fitlinxx offers device through SparkPeople for direct-to-consumer play

By Jonah Comstock
04:00 am

pebble_angle_lights_loFitlinxx, the activity tracker hardware company, is partnering with health and wellness website SparkPeople to provide a branded version of its Pebble activity tracker for users of the site. This is Fitlinxx's first venture into direct to consumer wellness.

"We've been predominately focused on the corporate wellness and healthcare provider space," David Monahan, President and CEO of Fitlinxx told MobiHealthNews. "Our model's unique, we're not trying to be out front. ...We focus on devices that can be integrated and embedded with our partners."

Fitlinxx's Pebble tracker is clip-on device that runs on a coin cell battery, which gives it about 12 months of continuous life, according to Monahan. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, and active time and is waterproof. The tracker syncs wirelessly and automatically through a proprietary syncing technology.

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SparkPeople will have its own app for the branded version of the device, called the Spark.

"We focus on making that experience great, so there's not multiple logins," said Monahan, contrasting it with integrations of consumer trackers, which sometimes involve users downloading both the device app and the integrated app. "You log onto SparkPeople, and your data's there. It's one experience and it's a SparkPeople experience."

Spark will be available for $59.99 to anyone via the SparkPeople website. SparkPeople founder and CEO Chris Downie said the device fits in with the website's "four-pronged engagement strategy", which involves activity tracking, expert content, community participation, and coaching.

"We really stress to members that they get started with small steps," he said. "By having the Spark activity tracker, that's a great new motivational tool."

The SparkPeople companion app for the device will run on Android and iOS devices.

"The app is going to give a lot of information from the activity tracker itself, but it's also going to include a new program that will help people reach goals very quickly," Downie said. "It's like a light version of SparkPeople we can attach to the activity tracker."

Monahan feels strongly that focusing solely on the hardware and partnering with clients with a focus on engagement and user experience is a better strategy than trying to do both. He compared Fitlinxx's approach to Android, which focused on building a smartphone operating system and left the devices to device makers, as opposed to Apple, which built a whole closed ecosystem. Although Apple had the early lead in the market, he said, Google is now starting to pull ahead because of that focus -- and because they chose the right partners.

"I don't go into partnerships lightly. We don't have thousands of partnerships," he said. "We work at the partnership to make sure its valuable."


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