The Surprise of the Wearable Technology

Over Christmas a few gifts were given here and there that could have been considered science fiction twenty years ago. There was a tablet gifted. A toy that lights up with audio in crystal HD clarity. And then there were the two fitness trackers - wrist worn devices that track health statistics and then upload them to phones and the Internet for tracking and goal setting.

My sister was given one and a second was gifted to Connie. We had been circling the Fitbit range for a while, with it banked as a back up gift from me and was a serious consideration a few gift-giving events ago. I had a Fitbit application built into my HTC and it counted the steps that I took with it in my pocket. I was never quite convinced of its accuracy but it seemed to have a consistent level of inaccuracy, which makes the exact results not accurate but the method and overall results at least somewhat.

I have been eyeing up the wearable tech industry with curiosity, mostly because I am sceptical of its power. I saw the Google Glass style wearable smart glasses as the folly they truly are, but the wrist watch style devices were far more palatable. I could see my self enjoying a smart watch from the off but the size and the battery power were the biggest issues. It just isn't in my script to have to charge my watch. But then Connie decided these she found her Fitbit uncomfortable, and passed it onto me.

The first thing I noticed was that I really had missed a watch. One of my worst habits is grabbing my phone and quickly checking the time, but then that extending to a quick check on Twitter, or the like, and suddenly I am faceburied for a few minutes. The Fitbit acts as a cool motion sensing watch that lights up when you flick your wrist to your face that is oddly addictive, and it had already started to break the habit of checking my phone. The other thing I was surprised at is how addicting the step counting is. I actually make sure I have the Fitbit when I walk Frank now to make sure that it captures all my steps, which is still a bit silly and inaccurate, but great gamification for getting out and being active. In a world where Retweets are currency, that kind of warm feeling from being able to quantify activity like that is such a powerful thing for me.

Bur the biggest surprise is how much I don't even notice it is there. It is light and feels no weightier than my old Casio watch I bought in Texas. 

It hasn't all been plain sailing however. I can't sync it to my current temporary phone as it is too old, as is the iPad , so it's linked to Connie's iPhone instead until the Nexus returns. And there is the problem with the battery. Lynn also had the same issue - it needs to be charged twice a day which is completely unworkable for a device that it impossible to charge whilst using it and also meant to be worn to bed for sleep tracking (another feature I misse from my older iPhones who did that so well, when I slept and live alone). The battery is supposed to last five days per charge, and I was well below that and so was Lynn. After raising a ticket with Fitbit she got a replacement that is faring a lot better, and my replacement is happily on the way.

All said and done I am surprised by how much I like the Fitbit. I am glad it isn't a full smart watch though; it gives me a break from the notifications and messages on my phone and removes a habitual problem I had, though I do wish it had music controls on it.