By Alex Morrison | May 22, 2014
Amidst the announcement that Nike will no longer be making the Fuelband, I discovered that they will be leaving behind a 10% gap in the market. Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike accounted for 97% of fitness tracker sales in 2013, leaving only 3% for the dozen or so other brands trying to get a better foothold in the space.
With Nike's decision to leave the wearable hardware market, there are going to be millions of ex-Fuelbanders looking to strap something else on their wrists, me included.
To make the transition easier, I've put together a list of three fitness trackers poised to come out this year. I didn't want to cover the mainstream brands, as they've been covered over and over to the point of repetition.
1. Jaybird's Reign
The Jaybird Reign was one of the most promising trackers at CES this year and continues to look like a front runner. The Reign promises to give users a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the data it collects, unlike most trackers that simply offer up data on a platter.
Like the other trackers, the Reign can measure all of the standard data sets, including sleep. It also has a set of 12 LED lights that will indicate time and how far you are from your goal. But where it really shines is in its ability to know what type of activity you are doing, whether it be walking, running, biking or swimming. Of course that also means it's fully waterproof. With the data it collects, Reign's app plans to be more forward-thinking with the information it provides. For example, the app will be able to tell users how many hours of sleep they need to feel fully rested, even up to the minute. It really seems like they have it down to a science.
The main feature hidden up Reign's sleeves is what they call the Go Zone. Each morning the band asks users to place their index finder over a sensor on the top of the band for two minutes. I know, two minutes is a long time. I hope they can trim this down in future versions. The band will then give you your Go score, which is an indication of how fatigued or energetic you are. The idea is that sometimes you wake up feeling tired, but your body is actually quite energized. Some may question the accuracy of the sensor, but time will tell after its release.
Lastly, the band will be made of soft, bendable rubber and will ship in eight different sizes. It's nice to see a brand offer so may size options to ensure a comfortable fit.
The band ships this fall.
2. Razer's Nabu
This half smartwatch, half fitness tracker made by Razer brings a new dynamic to what we've seen from fitness trackers so far - it has two screens. Made with privacy in mind, the band features a small screen on the outside part of the band that alerts you of notifications using symbols. For example, a telephone for calls. The inside part of the band features a larger OLED screen where you can check messages and updates in more detail and secrecy.
Equipped with an accelerometer, the band can measure all of the usual data sets - steps, calories, distance traveled - but it can also measure how many steps you've climbed using the in-built altimeter. The band also features the ability to track sleep, something the Fuelband has always left out (although a handful of trackers already do this).
The Nabu also functions similar to a smartwatch in that it can notify you of incoming calls and texts, letting you choose if you want to take the call or simply dismiss it with a shake of the wrist. However, what's really nifty is the ability for bands to talk to one another. If one band comes into range of another, users can share data, such as contact information and fitness stats, making the band's ecosystem extremely social.
Social was something Nike continually tried to push among Fuelband users, but somehow never got it quite right. With the Nabu being able to talk directly to other Nabu bands, Razer might be on to something.
The Nabu is expected to release at the end of May.
3. Movea's G-Series
This tracker may not look as sharp as the Fuelband, but it doesn't care. What it does care about is accuracy. For step-tracking, the device has an error rate of under 1.7% compared to other unnamed competitors who have an error rate of 6.3% or higher. On top of this, the band's sleep tracking accuracy is supposed to closely match professional tests performed in hospitals.
The G-series is even capable of detecting the posture of a user whether they are standing, sitting, running or walking. That would be a particularly useful data set to have if you spend all day at a desk or do any activities that involve the back (which is pretty much everything).
But I haven't been completely honest. The picture you see above is just a reference design and we will have to see if Movea can find a manufacturer to bring this product to shelves. But still, I felt that the band deserved to be on this list because more likely than not, with all the recent attention fitness trackers are getting, someone will help get the technology to market. Accuracy will almost always have an edge in this space.
I wouldn't expect the band to come out until 2015.