Map My Run Introduces Notifications

Map My Run Introduces Notifications

Dec 8, 2016

Well adopted fitness tool Run with Map My Run is getting an update.

The new build — Version 16.11.1, to be precise — adds in a big new feature: Notifications. Notifications serve as a quick way to see the relevant app info in a single place.

Per Google Play, folks will be able to get updates on friend requests, challenge invites, updates, reminders, mentions and achievements.

The app remains free (with in-app purchases) on Google Play.

Polar M400 Fitness Watch Review

Polar M400 Fitness Watch Review

Nov 22, 2016

Fitness tools with a mobile bent make sense, and Polar is a leading entity in this space; it’s M400 Fitness Watch looks to be a great option for those that want something that does the job of tracking health strides in a relatively unobtrusive way.

So, what do we get?

In testing, I liked the fact that I could get it going with a touch or two. It did take me a few goes (and false starts) to get comfortable, but it worked well overall. The default screen is effective in monochrome default, and the simple activity bar makes sense. The brightness toggle is also a nice touch.

The companion application works well to expand upon the functionality of the unit. It possible to get data to Google Fit, Google Calendar and Polar’s own fitness utilities via the app and Bluetooth. The app allows one to manage units of measurement, device usage, profiles and more. The app works well to be an extended device manager, and syncing data didn’t take too long.


Now, one aspect of the watch that does resonate is the ability to sync the watch with Android devices via the aforementioned app. As long as both are running and synced, the watch will get notifications from the device. Now, these notifications cannot be acted upon, say, as would be possible on a “true” smartwatch, but are great for basic info on any number of situations.

The Windows component feels a bit clunky, and I did not like that it was necessary for setup; fortunately, beyond updating, there isn’t be a need for it as far as I can tell.

For folks who are still not completely sold on smartwatches for everyday use, or who might strongly lean towards an emphasis on fitness and health tracking, the M400 is a great option. It works well as a standalone product, but can also add functionality here and there via connected smartdevices and/or Polar itself.

Map My Run update brings compatibility with new connected Under Armour shoes

Map My Run update brings compatibility with new connected Under Armour shoes

Feb 29, 2016

Under Armour seems to be on a roll.

Aside from having some of its signature athletes selected as the current MVP of almost every major North American professional sport, it also increased its brand presence in the connected heath arena by acquiring some choice fitness apps.

Run with Map My Run is one of these, and the application has just been updated; one of the new features is that it works with Under Armour’s own new connected sneaker, the SpeedForm Gemini 2.

Per the changelog on Google Play, all the changes include:

Version 16.2.1:
Support for UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped running shoes now in Connect Apps & Devices.
Go MVP today to access our all-new run Training Plans. Custom, dynamic, and tailored to your goals.

It looks like the continued culmination of a well-thought out connected plan.

Run with Map My Run remains free on Google Play; premium subscription options can be obtained in-app.

[via Google Play]

Runkeeper Gets Update

Runkeeper Gets Update

Nov 6, 2015

Runkeeper – GPS Track Run Walk is getting an update.


This one includes a lot of important bug fixes and enhancements to existing features:
– GPS fixes: If you have experienced wonkiness in the past we are working hard on solving those issues.
– Weather details for past activities: Runkeeper Go users can now see weather on their post-activity screen and in historical activities. View what the conditions, temperature, humidity, windspeed and wind direction was for your activities – helping you understand how weather may impact your performance.

The app remains free with in-app purchases on Google Play.

Spotify Update Brings Running Feature to Android Port

Spotify Update Brings Running Feature to Android Port

Sep 15, 2015

Spotify Music is bringing it’s pace-keeping feature to its Android app.

The feature uses music in based on the users history. After starting the app, all one needs to do is select a genre, and start moving; the app automatically gauges the users pace and plays music accordingly.

From the release post:

Since the launch of Spotify Running, millions of you have laced up and hit the road together with the best musical motivation out there.

Today we’re thrilled to be bringing the same great experience to our Android users.

With Spotify Running, we’ve combined the best music on the planet with recommendations based on your listening history, multiple-genre playlists as well as original running compositions.

Simply select your tempo and start running. We’ll match the perfect music in time to your step to help you go the extra mile.

Spotify Running on Android starts rolling out to users today. Learn more on

Spotify is free on Google Play (with in-app purchases); the update bringing the new feature is rolling out now.

[via Spotify]

Acer Releases Liquid Leap+ Fitness Tracker in the US

Acer Releases Liquid Leap+ Fitness Tracker in the US

Jul 20, 2015

Acer has just unleashed the Liquid Leap+ in the US; this is the first tracker Acer has brought to the American market.

The device is compatible with Android OS (plus Windows and iOS), is water-proof, and expectantly packs in a bunch of health-conscious fitness tracking functionality. It pairs with compatible devices via Bluetooth 4.0 LE. It also has a built-in battery that can last up to 7 days.

Acer America’s Smart Products Business Group Vice President Hugo Hernandez talks about its design and functionality. “The Acer Liquid Leap+ was designed to inspire and improve the daily lives of active technology enthusiasts,” he says. “It’s incredibly easy to use for tracking important aspects of health, while it provides additional useful features. In addition, the sleek and stylish design and interchangeable bands look great with a range of styles.”

The Acer Liquid Leap+ can be incorporated with bands that come in multiple colors (black, green and pink) as well. It is available now via Acer’s website for $79.99.


AR Health Series: Misfit Shine Review

AR Health Series: Misfit Shine Review

Mar 3, 2015

The Misfit Shine is hardly new, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that plenty of people still consider it a piece worth at least trying out.

We were eager to get the review unit Misfit sent us, the unit itself is tiny, barely bigger than a quarter in circumference; the unit contains a battery, and fits into a watch-like band. It’s quite light, almost slender on the wrist, but reasonably nondescript for something crafted from aircraft grade aluminum. It is waterproof, and grayish in color (there are other color choices), which mostly hides the incorporated series of LEDs when they are not lighted..

A big part of the solution is the Misfit app; the app is the portal with which the app records and translates accumulated data. The app has gotten better over time, with a clean interface and simple controls. The app has a sync button at the top right of the main screen, ad this allows the physical unit to offload data via Bluetooth. Additionally, the app also interfaces with several established Android fitness utilities, like Runkeeper and MapMyFitness. The unit does not need to be formally synced to the app-holding device, but the two do need to be reasonably close.

Now what it sets out to do is keep track of activity as well as sleep. It estimates such using a precision 3-axis accelerometer, and syncs to the app, which can then interprets said data for easy consumption. Tapping the unit twice reveals a clock function using the LEDs


The sync procedure can be frustrating at times; the tapping mechanism is great on paper, but finicky in practice, such that I felt like I had to do a quick sync periodically just to ensure that everything was working as it should. Also, having used it on both iOS and Android, the former is more fully featured, and some of the advertised third-party app compatibility was temperamental.

After extended use though, I am a huge fan of the overall premise of functionality. It’s an exceptionally simple device, but manages to convey a sense of sleekness that is not forced or overdone. The ability to use the main piece in several ways makes it even handier, and the ability to customize it further with bands and even necklace holders is an attractive extra. According to Misfit Inc, as it (the company) expands to home automation, one can expect the Shine to do even more.

As a passive health/sleep tracking accessory, it is a surprisingly elegant solution, and current prices (under $80 on Amazon) ensure that even this long after its initial debut, it is still a veritable option for the health conscious.

AR Health Series: Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker Review

AR Health Series: Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker Review

Oct 29, 2014

As part of our ongoing health series, we explore connected health accessories with an Android connection. For an introduction to Android Rundown’s mobile health series, check out our editorial.

Health bands and smartwatches are all the rage now; there are several out in the wild, and, thankfully, several corresponding price points. Being healthy is becoming easier to incorporate in one’s lifestyle — in theory, at least. For a lot of folks, having a connected health tracker just makes sense… especially when it can be paired to a ubiquitous always-on device such as a smartphone.

Oregon Scientific is a tech company with good pedigree, and has made a name for itself in the area of personal and home electronics; it’s not too much of a stretch to see why it would throw its hat into the fitness tracker ring. the Ssmart Dynamo Activity Tracker is the fruit of this endeavor.

The Ssmart Dynamo isn’t exactly new, but the review unit shows that, at first glance, it still looks pretty relevant. Outside the box, it’s fairly sedate; the black unit is mostly constructed of hardy rubber, and looks somewhat like a faceless watch, with a logo-ed strap. The stated stats are 3.4 x 5.25 x 3.4 inches, and it weighs 0.8 ounces. It packs a built in battery, a bluetooth module and familiar sports clasp mechanism for securing it to one’s wrist. It has colored LEDs that are hidden when not in use, and there is also a button near the “top” of the device. It has a clean, deliberate feel to it, and almost begs to be put on. The review package also contains a nifty charging cable and documentation.


Prior to rocking it, the unit has to be charged. I liked the included USB cable; it does use a proprietary charging system, and its suggested that unit be charged for an hour. Then, the companion OS Dynamo App can be downloaded and paired to the unit via long-pressing the Dynamo until the requisite blue light appears. The app serves as the portal to view the collected data, and the way to track data is to do things.

The unit acts like a basic pedometer, and also measures other activities, including sleep. Measurements garnered seem a bit off, and I think this where specific modes (outside sleep) could be useful. The collated data has an on-device shelf-life of a fortnight. It’s comfortable when worn, oo.

The system works as a decent guide, but I think the sync mechanism could be more seamless. To sync data, one has to press the button for a few seconds each time. The app could be a bit more user-friendly, too. The share functionality is useful, and I like the sleep measurements, even though it must be turned on prior to falling asleep.

All in all, the Dynamo might be a tenured product, but it still works in a crowded field. For the health conscious, it can be, at the very least, a great motivator.

Soccer Fitness Gols Review

Soccer Fitness Gols Review

Sep 19, 2014

Sometimes, we get apps to review that are so natural to use. As a licensed soccer coach who has played and coached The Beautiful Game most of my life, I have an intimate understanding of how seriously fitness impacts the sport. It’s an important, and there are quite a number of wearables aimed at this segment.

In any case, checking out apps like Soccer Fitness Gols not only feels natural, it feels like its my duty. So there.

The app itself is simple in design, with bright green, turf-like graphics making up the main background. The developer uses different shades of green in places to contrast the mostly white main screen text. The UI, as noted, is simple, and uses mostly uses taps and some gestures as the main modes of navigation.gol1

The main menu provides a few options: Programs, Assessment, Leaderboard and Profile. The Program submenu is futher broken into Strength, Endurance, Power, Speed and Flexibility. Each of these categories has three levels of difficulty aimed at people of different stages of fitness (beer league? Hilarious), and selecting one opens up the fitness activities to be done. Now, the exercises were my favorite part, incorporating a lot of warm-up moves familiar to soccer players, and several logical sequences, with video accompanying the descriptions and instructions. The program lists goals (sorry, gols) and allows the user to tweak the actual number achieved, which actually worked to encourage me to “beat” the gol. When done, the results can be saved (to be compared to past and future results), assessed and/or shared to social networks.

It turns out that “gols” isn’t just a funky way of spelling the obvious word; it is also a measure of activity. Gols are assigned for doing the workouts, and used to populate the Leaderboards. The Assessment is self-explanatory, and the Profile allows for users to personalize usage stats.

I especially like the video aspect, and the leaderboard adds a competitive aspect. I do think there could be more media content, and probably a little bit of nutritional pointers. Still, it’s an app I have no problem allowing my players to use.

Or myself, for that matter.

CrowdFunding Spotlight: Atlas on IndieGogo

CrowdFunding Spotlight: Atlas on IndieGogo

Feb 19, 2014

It is no secret that the whole technology industry feels that wearable tech and fitness tracking tech are certain to become the next big thing. Giants such as Apple and Google have notably thrown their collective hats into the ring with Google Glass and the iPhone’s new M7 motion coprocessor. The problem with fitness trackers, as this weeks KickStarter Crowdfunded Spotlight quickly points out, is that they are essentially glorified pedometers; crudely equating vertical movement with movement and a work rate.

Allow me to introduce Atlas: the first fitness tracker that actually tracks your workouts. The innovative aspect of Atlas is that it tracks movement in three directions and accurately relates that movement with a set of programmed exercises. By paying attention to heart rate as well as movement, the matte black watch is acutely aware of the amount of effort going into each rep. This means that cheating on reps is now a little bit harder than before. Their IndieGoGo page claims that the included sensor is so accurate it can tell the difference between regular and triangle pushups, squats from deadlifts, and dual-bicep curls from alternating bicep curls.

This is honestly one of the most impressive crowdfunding projects in recent memory and above all I have to say that I find the entire yellow text on flat black to be very cool. The generously sized display is divided into two sections, one containing one large number that can be set as reps, heart rate, or elapsed time, and the other containing the remaining two stacked vertically. At the very top is a bar that lists the current exercise to ensure that what is being logged is accurate.


The Atlas delivers a gold mine of information for fitness tracking apps, and it has announced compatibility with popular apps as well as an incredibly impressive in-house app that displays metrics such as stability, average heart rate, and workout intensity in addition to tracking workouts and suggesting different exercises to work underutilized muscles or rest overworked joints.

I have to say the total package of Atlas is incredibly impressive, which is probably why it has almost quadrupled its initial goal of $125,000 with still 17 days to go. As can be expected the Atlas watch is not particularly cheap, but $169 for a pre-order still feels like a great deal. So, I am sold. Spread the word; the fitness revolution is upon us!

Fitocracy Review

Fitocracy Review

Jan 21, 2013

It’s a New Year. Resolutions abound. Fitocracy might just be the tool to help folks keep the ones related to healthier living.

It’s an app that uniquely melds excessive with a competitive process that “rewards” completion of tasks. In doing this, it looks to avoid being just another fitness application, and to potentially become a full-fledged life coach.

The app itself comes with a mature, clean look, with trademark purple hues making a starring appearance.

The app is made up of three main pieces, accessible via the left side pane: Feed, Track and Your Profile. The Feed maintained my interactions with other “Fitocrats” all around. I could talk, encourage and request feedback from Fitocrats.

The Track section was where the party was at. Here, my exercises and activities were tracked for points. Fitocracy has a nice system of points and leveling up that encouraged exercise and the completion of “Quests” that generated bonus points. With the Quest Explorer feature, I could pick from a host of challenges to improve my status. Color-coded to indicate difficulty, these ran the gamut; there was stuff for beginners all the way through Olympians. I could also add exercise activities. For example, adding push-ups to my list gave me the opportunity to list reps and such, and completion yielded points, as well as a chance to share said activity to social networks.

The in-app Profile had my information, and summaries of how many points I needed to level up, along with portals for updating my status and taking pictures.

I thought the developers did a good job of making the app usable and easy to understand. I found it easy to use one-handed, and the point system was a pretty fun incentive. The social aspect of the app was a great idea. Also, the app had an online companion, which was another advantage.

Endomondo Sports Tracker Pro Review

It seems that these days we are living in a health-and-fitness awareness boom. You can get microchips in your sneakers to track your running for goodness sake! But not all of us have the money to throw into robot shoes, especially if we’ve already put the bulk of our money toward a smartphone. So it’s pretty natural then to assume that our phones would be willing to assist us in our fitness tracking, and we are not wrong. Endomondo is the second fitness tracker I’ve tried using, and I can say it’s a pretty tough act to beat.

I had been signed up with and using RunKeeper for a while, and while it’s nice to fall back on the familiar, I was also ready to take a look at the new. Signing up for an account was easy, and the app didn’t take long to download, although for the sake of testing it out I did hesitate for a moment over the $4.18CAD price. But since I’ve started using it I’ve been in love, and have even renounced RunKeeper all together.

The app’s main screen gives you your most basic options: Type of Workout, Music On/Off (with the option of some songs provided by the app, or of playing your own podcasts/music library), and the immediate Start or 10 Seconds Countdown options. GPS, unless disabled, automatically begins plotting out the route you’re taking and uploading it to your profile on the website. Further settings options give you an Audio Coach (giving you your time and distance values at set intervals), and even the option to allow your friends to send you Pep Talks if they see that you are actively exercising. Great for people training for marathons. There is also a secondary screen you can flip over to with a map showing your current location. Helpful to track yourself but also (if you get lost easily like me) to keep yourself on target.

Basic Workout gives you another host of options. You can set a goal to reach, set a goal against that of a friend’s time or a previous time of your own, or enter a route that you want to follow. During warm weather I’m an outdoor runner but during chillier times I resort to a treadmill/elliptical combo at the gym. GPS isn’t a viable tracking option then, so the final option of Manual Entry is essential for me. You can plug in Type of activity, Duration, and Distance Covered and it will all be added into your calendar of completed activities. Sweet and simple and covers all the bases.

It’s hard to praise the app without mentioning its parents site, so let me just say that Endomondo itself is wonderful. It has a very clear and intuitive display for your workout stats, as well as a constantly updating display of all of the other users who are currently out for their own workouts. It’s like Twitter, but for jogging. As well the option of sporting activities that you can chose from when embarking is stunning. Everything from the standard Walking, Running and Cycling, all the way to Pilates and Star Climbing to Yoga and Martial Arts. Plug in the time you spent on the activity and it will generate for you an approximate value for the calories you’ve spent. Those calories are then awesomely added up to give you values for Trips Around The World or To The Moon you’ve virtually completed, or more realistically how many Hamburgers Burned off. These stats are only viewable on the main site, but all of those sporting activities are options within the app itself.

In terms of cons, I feel a little silly reporting that my biggest complaint is that Elliptical (as I know it) is labelled as Cross-Training in the app and on the site. That term means something else to me, and so only the tiny icon of a person on an elliptical clued me in that it was the option I was looking for. otherwise it’s been smooth sailing. Which is, by the way, an activity option!