Garmin unveils smart scale, adds heart rate to fitness tracker

By Aditi Pai
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Garmin Index Smart ScaleFitness tracking device developer Garmin has unveiled its first smart scale, called Index Smart Scale, to help its users track weight and related metrics.

Garmin is notably late to the smart scale market. Other consumer-focused companies, like Withings, have offered smartphone-connected weight scales since 2009.

“The Index Smart Scale is an exciting addition to the Garmin lineup,” Garmin Vice President of Worldwide Sales Dan Bartel said in a statement. “We designed this smart scale to be both beautiful and functional, and with it we’re able to complete the wellness circle of weight management. We’re also excited to offer this as an option to our millions of running, cycling and multisport athletes who are looking for a smart solution to track body composition data along with the rest of their data in Garmin Connect.” 

The scale monitors weight, BMI, body fat, water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass. It supports up to 16 accounts. Index Smart Scale is able to detect which person steps on the device and will sync the data to the right person's Garmin Connect companion app. Because the scale can be used by so many people, Garmin said it is a good option for small businesses that want to launch employee wellness initiatives and sports teams. The scale is expected to launch next month for $149.99.

Garmin also unveiled the iteration of its smartphone-connected activity tracking device. The new offering, called vivosmart HR, offers heart rate tracking on top of existing features. The tracker was first announced last year in November. The new device, which will also launch commercially next month, is expected to retail at $149.99.

A number of companies announced the launch of smartphone-connected weight scales this year.

In September, Mountain View-based iHealth Lab, subsidiary of China’s Andon Health, unveiled another connected scale, called iHealth Core: Wireless Body Composition Scale (HS6), which is designed to help people with chronic conditions like obesity and hypertension manage their health. Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Qardio made its QardioBase smart scale and body analyzer available for preorder and Phillips announced a body analysis scale as part of a new suite of personal connected health devices. And a few months prior, Japanese medical device company Omron Healthcare unveiled a connected weight scale that is designed to be used as part of a telemedicine program.

In the spring, according to a posting in ClinicalTrials.gov, Weight Watchers began recruiting for a randomized control trial that will test the addition of a connected scale into its online weight loss intervention. While the primary outcome measure is weight loss, the study is also assessing engagement with the online program, which will also allow patients to input food and physical activity data.

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