Smartphone maker HTC is prepping its first fitness wearable to hit the shelves this spring and it's likely to stand out in the increasingly competitive market for two reasons: It will boast GPS, but will not feature a heart-rate monitor, the latter being a typical fitness device capability.
The decision to bypass a function that nearly every other mHealth-focused fitness band typically includes wasn't an oversight or a design flaw, according to Business Insider. It was a deliberate development decision as HTC doesn't believe today's mobile heart rate monitoring capabilities are accurate; rather, the company believes users seeking that capability will sync the band, called the Grip, to heart-rate monitors that do a better job.
That's a big decision, given that most, if not all, other fitness bands from leaders such as Fitbit and Basis offer up a heart rate monitor. Even Moto 360, also a new entrant in the wearable industry, lets users track heart rate.
As a recent Parks Associates report notes, success in mHealth wearables will be tied to providing what consumers want and need and how educated they are about the various tools provided in a device. Tracking heart rate, however, could turn out to be something consumers aren't that crazy for, as more sophisticated features come into play as wearables move off the wrist and onto clothing and jewelry. As FierceMobileHealthcare reported, 'ear' wearables offer up an entire new spectrum of potential health data collection and insight, from oxygen levels and body temperature to electrocardiogram capability.
What HTC is banking on is the Grip's GPS function, according to Business Insider. The marketing strategy is focused on competitive athletes and serious fitness enthusiasts and GPS is typically found in fitness watch wearables not in fitness bands, notes the article. Grip will relay insight on workout aspects, such as run time and pace, and track sleep patterns. It also will provide smartphone alerts, including calls and appointment notices.
The Grip is likely the flagship of a product portfolio to come as the HTC Grip works with Under Armour's Record app; the two companies reportedly are developing a fitness gadget.
For more information:
- read the Business Insider report
Wearables must align to consumer needs for longtime adoption
Why health wearables will shift from the wrist to the ear
Report: Smartwatches to see rapid growth in wearables market
Wearables in healthcare: Examining the impact on providers and patients