Fitness enthusiasts can already use their cell phones and the web to keep track of their progress toward their health goals, but typically such applications track a limited set of data or rely on accurate self-reporting. Fitbit, on the other hand, is a small device the user can wear around the clock for continuous, automatic and comprehensive fitness reporting.
The Fitbit Tracker can be clipped loosely on clothing or undergarments or worn directly on an included wristband. With a 3D motion sensor like that found in the Nintendo Wii, the Fitbit tracks the user’s activity in three dimensions and converts that data into useful information. Calories burned, steps taken and distance traveled are all recorded by the Fitbit automatically, for example, as are sleep quality data such as how long it took the user to fall asleep, the number of times they woke up during the night and how long they were actually sleeping. A blue OLED display on the rechargeable device shows data about the user’s overall activity level; in addition, any time he or she walks within 15 feet of the included wireless base station, data from the Fitbit is silently uploaded in the background to the Fitbit website. There, users can view detailed data about their fitness-related activities; they can also enter data about what they’ve eaten and participate in collaborative fitness goals with friends, family and co-workers. The complete Fitbit system, including tracker device, base station and software, is priced at USD 99.
California-based Fitbit is currently filling pre-orders, and will start filling new orders October 31st. Because of the necessary government certifications for wireless and product safety, however, it will initially ship only within the US. Fitbit does hope to enable international orders down the road—one to partner with and help make that happen…? (Related: Mobile apps hit the slopes.)