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]

Huawei TalkBand Available in the US Starting This Month

Huawei TalkBand Available in the US Starting This Month

Nov 6, 2014

The Huawei Talkband, a fitness tracker with cross-platform connectivity and headset functionality, will be available for purchase this month.

Excerpts from the press release:

Huawei’s TalkBand B1, the world’s 1st fitness tracker with an integrated Bluetooth earpiece and the perfect hybrid talk and track companion for mobile devices, will be available beginning November 14 in the United States through GetHuawei.com, Newegg.com, Amazon.com, and Fry’s Electronics.

The TalkBand B1 is the perfect balance between work and play: A wireless activity tracker and Bluetooth headset in one, a hybrid that connects to your mobile device so you can talk and track activities effortlessly. The TalkBand B1 wirelessly tracks activity time and progress, including steps taken, miles covered and calories burned. It intelligently records the duration and quality of sleep, and has a smart alarm and nap functions to help improve rest.

With an embedded Bluetooth 4.1 wireless earpiece, the TalkBand B1 features fast pairing and enables up to seven hours of continuous calling. The TalkBand B1 is designed to support wireless calling on both Android 4.0+ and iOS 5.0+ compatible devices, and syncs effortlessly via NFC.

TalkBand B1 is made of hypo-allergenic, sweat-resistant and anti-UV materials to prevent aging and discoloration and features and includes a 1.4-inch flexible OLED display. The device has a fashionable bendable curve design that fits perfectly around the wrist, and the earpiece sits securely within the band and is easily removable when needed. With a 90 mAh battery, the TalkBand B1 lasts six days without the need to recharge, and takes only two hours to charge using the integrated USB connector. The TalkBand also comes with added security features that alert the wearer by vibrating if the TalkBand is more than 10 meters away from the synced smart device.

The TalkBand is due out on November 14th, and will cost $129.99

talkband

[Source: Huawei Press Release]

AR Health Series: Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor Hardware Review

AR Health Series: Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor Hardware Review

Oct 30, 2014

I had the misfortune of having some serious health issues a short while ago, and, without getting overly conversational about it, it changed me. It made me take health more seriously, and one fringe benefit is that it allowed me to take a longer, more appreciative look at the burgeoning area of connected health devices.

“Burgeoning” is somewhat of an understatement; the category is exploding. As part of my personal fitness odyssey, I’ve had the privilege of trying out interesting connected gear. The Withings Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor is one of them.

Personal blood pressure monitors are not new; I have had a generic one for quite some time. While convenient, the one drawback is the collation tool is not self-contained. I used my smartphone to collect the data via my all-round app HanDBase, and while the solution worked, I’d like a more homogeneous fix.

The Withings Wireless BP Monitor isn’t new either, but it’s a product that has continued to improve and is still defining the product category years after its inception.

bpm3

The review piece Withings sent us shows the hardware in its retail glory; it’s in the familiar white and green (with chrome-ish accents) finish that Withings is familiar for. It has a prominent pre-formed cuff capable of fitting arms ranging from 9″ – 17″ and has a velcroed end that helps corral the extra strap that is part of the monitor. There is also a prominent bar that runs the vertical length of the unit that houses the batteries and presumably the bluetooth module that the unit uses to connect to devices; on this bar is an on/pairing button with LED. The unit comes with batteries already installed; the box also continues documentation.

Using the device as one getting acquainted with the companion Withings Health Mate app. When connected to the device (via Bluetooth/Bluetooth LE), the device preps to take a reading for a user registered to the device (or, a guest), and tapping “Start” does it. The cuff automatically tightens, and the cuff takes a reading; it promises accuracy within 3 mmHG on either side of a measurement, and also notes WHO systolic grades.

The companion app also serves as a health hub, allowing users to connect other Withings devices to it (like the Withings scale, and consequently allowing for a better health portrait to be created.

One thing I think the monitor could do better is be more like the Scale in its ability to gather seamless readings; as it is, it can only be initiated from within the app, unlike the scale, which can take readings with auto-detect capabilities that can be confirmed later. Also, the connection can be stubborn at times. I also would appreciate the ability to share batches of data via the app rather than single readings.

All in all, it is still a relevant piece of hardware. It isn’t the cheapest investment ($129 on Amazon), but does have the benefit of being relatively well thought out.

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.

dynamo3

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.