Jawbone attempts to overcome last year’s catastrophe with Up ‘lifestyle wristband’

The Right Click

If you think you've seen the launch of the Jawbone Up wristband before, you'd be right: last year, the manufacturer of iconic Bluetooth headsets released its lifestyle-tracking wristband for the first time, but it ended in a colossal failure.

Today, Jawbone has re-launched Up in the U.S., hoping to win back some of the users that got burned by the initial failed product launch. The concept between the original wristband and the newly-launched one is the same: help to make people 'make smarter choices' in order to help them feel their best by tracking sleep, activity, and food intake.

As Engadget explains, Jawbone's 2011 version of the Up wristband was plagued with problems. Two main issues led to Jawbone being forced to issue no-questions-asked refunds: while the wristbands were water resistant in the pure lab test water, the material proved vulnerable to the warm, soapy water that most users bathe in daily. And while Up looks like a flexible rubber bracelet, its insides aren't as flexible and bendy as users might anticipate, which resulted in wearers not being as gentle with the wristband as was required.

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Since the first version of the device, Jawbone has put the wristband through rigorous testing, and while you probably still shouldn't go bending Up in every direction, it has been built to be more resilient to general usage — including stepping in the shower.

The basics of the wristband are still the same: set up, sync and charge it using the 3.5mm headphone port and accompanying USB adapter to plug the device into your computer. Once you've stored your information and synced it with the iOS app (there's an Android app on the way, too, but currently no timeframe for its release), you wear the wristband throughout the day and night to track all of your sleeping, eating, and movement. While it seems like a no-brainer that Jawbone would include Bluetooth, the company says that the wristband isn't big enough to accommodate the technology, so users will have to settle for plugging it in.

Jawbone's Up relies on use of the iOS app to track all of your information; it displays information collected about your sleep and activity in graphs (with graphics that have improved since the first version that was released with the original wristband), and gives you the tools to track your food. Since the wristband can't actually monitor what you eat, you can snap a photo of your meal to find it in the app's nutrition database (with both generic and restaurant-specific meals), or you scan the barcode of your pre-packaged food item to log the meal and record the nutrition information.

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The sleep tracking works much the same as the original wristband, with a few added features. As with the 2011 version a silent alarm will wake you at the most appropriate point in your sleep cycle with a vibration, but now, users can set a "power nap" option to wake you after the optimal brief amount of time (26.5 minutes, the website claims). Activity monitoring has been similarly improved, with the addition of an "idle alarm" that alerts the user if they've been sedentary too long, and a stopwatch mode that lets you track your activity level for a specific amount of time, e.g. during a workout.

The Jawbone Up won't be coming to Canada until later this year, so it might be a little late to include as a stocking stuffer, but it's available now in U.S. Apple stores or on Jawbone's U.S. online store, and the app is available in both the U.S. and Canadian App Stores.

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