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Meet the tech that wants to get you fit
Over the past few months fitness tech has become a real trend. There’s no longer any excuse for slobbing about on the sofa: the O2 Gurus take a look at the tech that’ll help you get in shape.
The smartwatch fad can be traced back to one incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign: the Pebble Watch. After the prototype smartwatch raised $10.3 million on the crowd-funding site, the big tech companies decided there might be something in this wearable tech thing after all. Now you can buy watches from Sony, Samsung and LG, with Motorola and HTC confirmed to be working on watches that run Android Wear.
All the smartwatches come with a fitness element built in, be it monitoring your work-outs, tracking your sleep or just popping up with a reminder to go for a run.
If you’re more of a hardcore gym bunny then a fitness band might be more up your street than a smartwatch. Fitness bands still pair with your smartphone to log your fitness data but they don’t tend to come with a screen. This makes them smaller and lighter to wear, and more robust to boot. Many are also waterproof, which is good news for swimmers or any dedicated runner in the UK.
Health and fitness sensors are starting to make their way into smartphones too: the Samsung Galaxy S5, for example, has a built-in heart-rate monitor (you can get any number of apps for the iPhone to emulate this using the camera flash). Many people use the GPS element of their phones to track runs, while many now have pedometer functions built-in too.
But the big advantage of a smartphone is in collecting all your fitness data together. Google and Apple both recently announced specific programs for Android and iOS – Google’s is called Google Fit, while Apple’s is known as Healthkit. These aren’t products you can buy or download, though. Google Fit is a guide to help Android developers pull physical information in from your gadgets’ sensors and into their apps and Healthkit is an app that you won’t be able to get on your iPhone until iOS 8 is released this autumn.
It’s not just your wrists that can get in on the wearable tech trend. The Misfit Shine, for example, can be worn as a watch but is just as easily styled as a pendant or a clip-on fitness tracker. Both Adidas and Nike have released shoes that have built-in sensors to track runs and give you feedback on technique. If you have an Xbox with Kinect motion sensor, you can now get several games to help you work-out at home. And there’s even the Withings Smart Body Analyzer – a set of scales that promises to track your weight, BMI and heart-rate when you step onto them each morning and share the data to your smartphone.
What does the future hold?
Since Google has already shown its cards, all eyes are on Apple. Most tech types suspect that the company has been working on a watch of some kind. No one knows for sure, but since Healthkit has already been revealed and will be part of autumn’s iOS 8 release, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see a fitness-tracking iWatch launch at around the same time.
Have you invested in any fitness tech? Has it helped you get in shape? Let us know in the comments below or on our Twitter @O2.