Edge, iHealth's new activity tracker, tracks swimming, sleep

By Jonah Comstock

iHealth_EdgeMountain View, California-based iHealth, a subsidiary of Chinese medical device company Andon Health, announced a new device, called iHealth Edge, its second foray into the activity tracking space.

While iHealth's previous activity tracker, released in May of last year, felt like something of a box-checking exercise in the company's ever-expanding portfolio, the Edge has some features that might put it into contention in the fierce activity tracker market. The Edge has replaced the previous device on iHealth's website.

The new tracker, which can be worn on the wrist or clipped onto clothing, tracks steps, distance, and sleep efficiency, just as iHealth's previous device did. And it actually falls behind the previous tracker in the area of battery life -- while the iHealth Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker had a three-year battery life and didn't require charging, the Edge has a lithium-polymer battery that must be plugged in and charged. 

Where the Edge really distinguishes itself is that it automatically switches between tracking sleep and tracking activity, based on how much the user is moving. Users can view the metrics on the device itself, through a display that's activated by flicking the wrist. They can also upload their data to iHealth's MyVitals 2.0 app, the same app that takes in data from iHealth's blood pressure cuff or connected weight scale.

My Vitals 2.0 also connects to HealthKit, so users have options in terms of how they share their data, either with friends or even with healthcare providers. In addition, the device itself has no buttons on it, allowing it to be waterproof up to 50 meters. This means users can even track swimming.

The device will retail for $69.99, cheaper than most fitness trackers but $10 more than the company's legacy Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker.

iHealth Lab became iHealth last month when the company restructured following a $25 million strategic investment from Chinese investor Xiaomi Ventures. Xiaomi makes its own wearable activity tracker, a $13 device announced in July. That device, called the Mi Band, tracks activity, acts as a silent alarm, and does something novel for fitness-tracking wristbands: it unlocks the user’s phone in lieu of a password.

iHealth, which was founded in 2010, makes smartphone-connected medical devices including a weight scale, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, an activity tracker and a pulse oximeter. The company has more of an explicit health focus than some of its fitness and wellness geared competitors. Most recently, this past summer, iHealth launched iHealth Align, a tiny low-cost smartphone connected glucometer.