RunKeeper launched a new iPhone 5 app this morning called Breeze, aimed not just at runners but at walkers and casual exercisers. The app uses the phone's M7 motion coprocessor to track the user's movements all day, similar to ProtoGeo's Moves app or Azumio's Argus app.
"Breeze gives you simple insights into your daily activity and motivates you to make fitness a bigger part of your life," the company writes in an introductory blog post. "Breeze starts by tracking all the steps you take -- but it goes far beyond your average pedometer. Breeze tells you where and when you are moving throughout the day, offers personal daily goals, motivating notifications that are subtle yet persuasive, and celebrates big moments and achievements. You'll gain more insight into how your daily activities through a simple, easy-to-use interface."
The app tracks a user's movement continuously throughout the day, and sends push notifications informing them of how close they are to reaching pre-set goals. It's also designed to help give users an idea of when they're already moving throughout the day and when they could fit in some additional exercise. Finally, the app gives recaps of the previous days' movement every morning and allows the user to compare each days' steps to previous days or averages.
At an Xconomy event last month, RunKeeper CEO Jason Jacobs talked about how he sees passive tracking on the phone fitting into the activity tracker market over time, compared to dedicated devices like the Fitbit or Nike Fuelband.
“What we started to notice was this fitness-specific hardware was on a road to nowhere, because over time it’s on a path to commoditization and how can they possibly maintain these margins when there’s less and less differentiation and more and more players in the market?” Jacobs said at the time. “So from a focus standpoint, we’re squarely focused on being the software that powers the fitness component of phones and, in general, wearables. And while we still plan to integrate with the third party inputs, we don’t think the standalone devices that are fitness specific are the vehicle that is going to take this stuff to the mass market. We think it’s going to be the phone.”
Because it relies on the M7 co-processor to provide continuous tracking without overly taxing the battery, the app is currently available only for the iPhone 5s. However, the company says it is looking into expanding Breeze to other devices. Other future plans include deeper integration with RunKeeper's flagship app and more personal and specific features and notifications -- likely the same sort of personalized features Jacobs talked about at the Xconomy event.
"If we know that you’re supposed to run 10 miles tomorrow or today and we know your schedule and we know that it’s raining outside, we also know when it stops raining,” he said at the time. “Or we don’t today, but we sure could, the technology’s there. Right? So what if we pinged you and said ‘Hey it stopped raining, might be a good time to get in that 10 miles,’ since we know you have two hours free in your schedule? It’s scary, but it’s incredibly powerful if harnessed for good.”
RunKeeper incorporated the M7 motion coprocessor into its app back in November as well, when the company introduced a feature called Pocket Track. Breeze seems to be a broader, more advanced implementation of the technology.