Misfit launches more powerful, vibrating wearable

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Misfit Debuts The Shine 2, A Bigger, More Powerful Version Of Its Flagship Activity & Sleep Tracker.

Activity-tracking wristbands are a dime a dozen these days, but each device takes a different approach to monitoring your fitness. Over two years ago, Misfit launched an activity monitor called “Shine,” which was among the first breakout successes in the wearable space, offering an attractive alternative to competitors’ then more plastic-looking fitness trackers. Some pretend to be timepieces while also counting your steps, others are full-on smartwatches, and still more aim for style and subtlety over flashing LED step counts. The vibration feature is a true accomplishment considering the fitness tracker doesn’t need to be charged and can last between four and six months on a common disposable watch battery.

In the years since, the company has expanded its product line to include a range of connected devices, including also sleep monitors and connected lightbulbs. Another addition to the Shine 2 is a magnetometer, which offers better tracking accuracy, and calculates metrics—like distance traveled—more accurately.

The new device, both a fitness and sleep monitor, features an updated design, a number of new sensors allowing for additional data collection, and improved touch responsiveness. The original Shine looked a minimalist though slightly strange bracelet when it launched in 2013, but that was appealing in an age of all-around hideous activity-trackers.

It’ll track steps, calories, distance traveled and sleep quality, as well as activities such as swimming, basketball, tennis, soccer, yoga and dance. The new product comes at a time when the company is facing pressure not only from other fitness startups—like Fitbit and Jawbone—but also from smartwatch companies such as Apple and Samsung.

As a prior Shine owner, I can attest to this problem – thanks to the Shine’s magnet, and its tendency to pop out of its band, I lost a couple of Shines previously. It also sells fewer wearables than Samsung SSNLF 5.00% and Apple AAPL 1.83% , despite the fact those companies sell smartwatches that retail for three times the price of Misfit’s most expensive wearables. Xiaomi sells its own inexpensive fitness tracker—the Mi Band—that resembles Misfit’s trackers, although it syncs with its own software and not Misfit’s.

Shine 2 also has a ring of 12 LEDs that can display up to 16 million colors, which users will be able to customize in Misfit’s corresponding fitness tracking app for specific app notifications and even multi-colored animations. Last year, Oscar, a health insurance company, started providing free Misfit fitness trackers to its members, so they could track steps in exchange for rewards. The company says it has also improved its tap detection algorithms quite a bit – something that could address some of the troubles original Shine owners had with their devices.

Now with a host of devices at varying price points, Misfit has the potential to carve out a niche for itself as a lower-cost alternative to pricier smartwatches, including Apple’s, by offering the basic functionality they do, including activity tracking, alert notifications, and more.

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