Garmin, a company who cut their teeth on GPS based technology, have revealed a host of new products during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Amongst these products is the company’s new fitness band. The company are also planning to introduce a new Heads Up Display (HUD) Sat-Nav during 2014, as they fight the declining market for aftersales sat nav units. We’ll cover the latter at another point, as today we want to focus on the new fitness band.
Anybody who has seen a news clip of the CES 2014 show, let along those who’ve taken the time to visit, will not have missed the fact that wearable technology is where it’s at in 2014. We can’t dispute that last year laid the foundations, but 2014 is set to be the year that it explodes.
The wearable fitness bands market began with the sports apparel companies, led by Nike with their Fuelband. Garmin are set to enter with their Vivofit, which promises to be a waterproof band with a particular focus on individual’s fitness goals. The last part of that sentence is interesting because to date, most bands have focussed on being general. The focus has been on creating algorithms which automatically recognise what activity you’re doing and then try to calculate how fast you’re going, what gradient you’re transcending and how far you have travelled. Specificity has been sorely lacking – leading to bands getting a lukewarm reception from keen sportsmen and women. The Vivofit could be the band that changes this.
The device features a curved display unit which manages to perform the miracle of boosting a years worth of battery juice whilst staying on all of the time. Compare to this the slew of sports watches and other bands, which use gesture controls to recognise when the user is looking at them, and which still only manage to last hours or days per charge.
The focus behind this sort of tech is goal setting leading to better lifestyle choices. So when you get the device going, expect to feed it some ambitious targets and then expect to get nagged into hitting those goals. Its technology meets a nagging personal trainer, but the upsides are strong and there’s thousands of cases of people who have transformed their lives which the baby steps encouraged by such bands.
If desired, you can also hook the Vivofit up with your ANT+ heart rate monitor. This then allows for the collection and dissemination of heart rate data alongside the more basic band stats, including steps taken, estimated calories burned and your goal countdown. The goal countdown feature is as common on a band as the time is on a watch and this is the legacy of the Nike+ Fuelband. Points and goals turn the more obscure fitness metrics into an actionable and understandable currency, making it easier to hit your body composition and fitness objectives.
Like any good personal trainer, the Vivofit’s first goal is to ascertain exactly where you’re currently at with your fitness goals and your lifestyle. The device is able to learn this, as well as you’re ability to hit your goals before it begins to steadily increase your daily goals and targets. So overtime, you gradually start doing more and more daily activities, and thus burn off more and more calories.
The Garmin Vivofit is set to hit stores in March 2014, and is set to be priced at around £65 or £95 with a heart rate monitor belt. It will come in blue, slate grey, purple or black.