While Jawbone's UP fitness tracking wristband has always seemed to be relatively popular (at least around these parts), it's done so despite one obvious quirk: in a world full of wirelessly-syncing competitors like the Nike Fuelband and the Fitbit, the UP needs to be plugged in to be synced.
Not anymore. This morning, Jawbone launched a new version of the UP called "UP24", with Bluetooth syncing as its headlining feature.
Aesthetically, the UP24 and the original UP are fundamentally identical. Hell, from a few feet away, you probably couldn't tell the difference unless you knew what to look for - and even then, it might be a bit of a challenge. The dimensions are almost exactly the same across the board. The only immediately obvious difference is in the UP24's texture; while the original UP has always featured a back-and-forth zig-zag pattern across its face, its new, wireless brother has a pattern that looks something like the trail left behind the rake dragged through a zen sand garden. (See the picture up top? The original UP is in the center, with an UP24 on each side.)
Adding Bluetooth to the mix means the UP24's battery life takes a hit, but only a small one. While the original UP claimed 10 days per charge, the UP24 promises to last around 7.
Even with its newfound wireless capabilities, the UP24 still has the headphone jack-style plug found on the original, used only to connect the band to its charger. The downside? That means it still has that pop-off (and thus rather losable) end cap. Curiously, Jawbone has switched the jack from 3.5mm to 2.5mm, and tells me that syncing over the plug no longer works - so it's Bluetooth or nothin'.
UP24 is launching as an iOS-only device for now, with Android support "on the way". Jawbone pins the delay with Android on complexity; because of the variety of Android headsets floating around, it's taking them a bit longer to get everything prepped for that platform.
The new band will go for $149 alongside the original, which will remain at its $129 price tag. It comes in two colors: onyx or persimmon (which is, of course, fancy marketing speak for black or orange.)UP 3.0
Meanwhile, Jawbone is also today launching UP 3.0, a new build of its UP companion app for iOS.
The addition of Bluetooth brings a rather fundamental shift to the way that the UP can work. Rather than only updating when you deliberately plug the UP into your handset, the UP24 is syncing throughout the day.
As such, the UP 3.0/UP24 pairing focuses on live feedback. If you're just a few steps away from your daily goal, it'll send you a push notification encouraging you to get up and move a bit more. When you wake up, it'll fire off an alert to your phone telling you how many hours of sleep you got. (Don't worry: you can turn each notification type off independently.) You can also do things like set the UP24's smart alarm, or check its battery life, wirelessly.
The new app brings a bit of an overhaul for current UP owners, as well. There's a new "Today I Will" system that analyzes your data and tries to get you to commit to certain healthy goals (like "Today I'll walk at least 5,000 steps" or "Today I'll get 6+ hours of sleep"), and a new streaks/milestones system (read: achievements) that'll applaud you when you've hit your goals multiple days in a row, or have walked X million steps.