Jawbone finally adds Bluetooth, working with more than 100 third party developers

By Jonah Comstock
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Jawbone Up 24Jawbone's UP bracelet does pretty well in the activity tracker space, at least according to CEO Hossain Rahman who told Fortune the company was experiencing "crazy sell-through demand" when the company borrowed $93 million in September. But one glaring omission in Jawbone's product offering, cited in FixYa's consumer feedback report in August, is the omission of wireless syncing. While the Fitbit, Nike+ FuelBand, and others all sync wirelessly, Jawbone has required users to remove the bracelet and plug it into their phones to update their data -- until now.

The company’s newest product offering, Jawbone UP24, offers wireless syncing via Bluetooth Smart, at least for iOS users. Bluetooth Low Energy allows Jawbone to incorporate wireless syncing without adding bulk to the form factor, although it does reduce the device's battery life from 10 days down to seven. The device still needs to plug in to charge, but it uses a 2.5 mm USB jack rather than a 3.5 mm jack.

"UP 24 is much more than just wireless syncing – we didn't just want to add Bluetooth," Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone, said in a statement. "Instead we used the real-time experience to create a powerful, personalized system that helps you take action and fine-tune your day."

Jawbone VP of Software Jeremiah Robinson spoke about that sort of daily life data integration at a Wired Data Life event in New York City last week, mentioning calendar integration as an example.

Near real-time syncing also enables some functions with Jawbone's integration partners: the company says that via an integration with IFTTT, the band can detect, for instance, when a user wakes up and automatically interact with other connected devices in the user's home -- for instance, starting their coffee maker or turn on their lights.

We've noted before that Jawbone's previous acquisitions of BodyMedia, Massive Health, and Nutrivise -- and its hiring of LinkedIn data scientist Monica Rogati -- point to a big focus for Jawbone on using big data to optimize its user experience. The UP 3.0 app seems to be among the first dividends of those investments, moving not just to more advanced health tracking but also to internet of things integration with future smart appliances. More than 100 developers are working on these kinds of integrations with the UP platform. Other partners include Runkeeper, MyFitnessPal, MapMyFitness, Withings, Strava,Wello, Sleepio, LoseIt!, Maxwell Health, CarePass, TicTrac, and GymPact.

The UP 3.0 App for the new device includes a habit system called "Today I Will," which recommends goals to users each day based on their perceived needs in the areas of sleep, movement, and water intake.

It also keeps track of data long-term, sending positive notifications to users who keep up movement for a long streak or celebrate a milestone like their millionth step tracked. More detailed activity data can be accessed in the app's activity log.

Like most wearables that track sleep, Jawbone requires the user to activate sleep mode before going to sleep. But a new feature, called Sleep Recovery, takes a middle ground between that and automatic sleep detection, such as the Basis Band sports.

"The UP 3.0 App identifies times when it believes you may have been sleeping and makes a suggestion in your Activity Log," the company writes. "Just tap on the suggestion to confirm or adjust the sleep event and see a detailed estimation of your night's sleep, including light sleep, deep sleep, time in bed, and wake-ups. The more you track your sleep using Sleep Mode, the more accurate Sleep Recovery becomes."

The new device will be sold for $149.99, $20 more than last year's model, at Best Buy and Apple Stores as well as online.

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