Jawbone UP3

We recently reported how the inevitable “feature creep” has appeared in the FitBit product lineup, and now Jawbone has announced a similar development. The company’s new UP3 fitness band includes additional sensors. According to the company press release, the “multi-sensor platform” includes a new tri-axis accelerometer along with bioimpedance sensors, and temperature sensors for the air and skin.

The bioimpedance sensors serve multiple functions, including heart rate, respiration, and galvanic skin response (GSR). The device is reportedly able to distinguish between different stages of sleep, as well as between different types of physical activity. The companion app provides Smart Coach, which provides personalized guidance and encouragement. The battery is designed to last up to 7 days, and relies on Bluetooth LE to connect wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet to upload data. You can wear it in the shower or while swimming, so it is a set-and-forget device. It is scheduled to ship before the end of this year at a retail price of $180.

The interesting development here is that the device does a more accurate job of measuring heart activity. It identifies resting heart rate, and is slated to receive a software upgrade soon that will collect “additional health data.” Clearly, manufacturers are adding functionality to their fitness bands to the point that they can be useful in tracking other biometric data with the possibility of generating alerts when potentially dangerous conditions or changes are detected. These devices are become much more useful very quickly, and I don’t expect this trend to end anytime soon.