Jawbone's smart bands 'meant as jewellery'

DISCREET: Jawbone UP activity-tracking bands (being held) along with competing products.


    Apr 17, 2015

    Jawbone's smart bands 'meant as jewellery'


    ON THE one hand, or wrist, there may be an eye-catching Apple Watch, while the other will sport more discreet jewellery packed with Internet Age smarts.

    Jawbone had that vision of the wearable computing trend in mind on Wednesday, when it expanded its UP family of lifestyle-tracking bands and hinted at an upcoming model that enables American Express users to tap and pay at shop checkout counters.

    "People often wear a watch (when) they are wearing bracelets," Travis Bogard, Jawbone vice-president of product management and strategy, told Agence France-Presse at the company's San Francisco headquarters.

    "We can now put technology into those situations in a way that doesn't disrupt how you would wear it. Then you can collect that information and do interesting things with it."

    A UP3 bracelet that tracks heart rate, along with activity and sleep, is shipping after a delayed release while technicians improved water resistance.

    Jawbone introduced another UP band with an overhauled design and almost half the mass of its predecessor. Mr Bogard showed off a coming flagship UP4 model with sensors capable of measuring heart rate and other biometrics, and which could be used with American Express contactless payment systems.

    UP4 will be priced at US$199 (S$270) when it is released in the middle of this year, according to Mr Bogard. The cheapest UP model is US$49.

    He was undaunted by the arrival next week of the Apple Watch, which unofficial estimates indicate has about a million pre-orders and could ignite the smartwatch market.

    "Those are really daytime wear," he said of smartwatches. UP bands are designed to be jewellery that "disappears on the body" while being worn all day every day, using sensors to track activity, sleep and more.