After slipping to Under Armour, Adidas acquires Runtastic
Aug06

After slipping to Under Armour, Adidas acquires Runtastic

In an attempt to stay competitive in the fitness market, Adidas acquired the fitness tracking app developer Runtastic for a reported $230 million. The acquisition will allow Adidas to have access to Runtastic’s 70 million user database. According to Reuters, the sports company said on Wednesday it had completed the acquisition through the partnership of a mysterious “angel” investor. Axel Springer SE, one of the largest digital publishing houses, sold 51 percent of their share of Runtastic to Adidas. Adidas has been falling behind during the fitness wearable boom. It was only last year when the company released the MiCoach, while Nike partnered with Apple back in 2012 to pioneer fitness tracking. Under Armour displaced Adidas last year as the second biggest sportswear maker, behind Nike. The sports giant then went on an acquisition spree, acquiring two Austin-based startups, MapMyRun and Gritness. Runtastic offers 20 different applications in over 18 languages and even launched their own running wearable, the Orbit. The device is capable of 24 hour monitoring of  your sleeping cycle, running habits and general activity. CEO Florian Gschwandtner recently went to the Runtastic blog to express delight in the acquisition. He also took time to relieve any concerns from the millions of active users. “Runtastic will remain its own entity (within the adidas Group) and continue to operate from our current offices in here in Linz, Austria, Vienna and San Francisco. We will continue deliver further optimizations, unique content and a highly-anticipated new app by the end of the year,” wrote...

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When data gets dark: Why one cyclist quit the quantified self
Jul30

When data gets dark: Why one cyclist quit the quantified self

Shortly after my flesh recently met pavement, I had an epiphany about today’s notion of the quantified self. I’ve been a believer in self-quantifying, or what is largely employing technology’s ever-expanding ability to help us track our states of being, for nearly a quarter-century. In the name of realizing greater personal potential, I’ve enthusiastically tracked my sleep and diet, and my time spent crouched over a laptop as well as while meditating. But in the days, weeks, and months last spring after my left hip hit the road during a bike race at 29.3 miles per hour — one of multiple metrics logged on my bike computer just before it sensed no movement whatsoever — I had a different sort of revelation. I came to the conclusion that the quantified self, which in today’s booming wearables era means more and more to a rapidly growing audience, has become bloated. Ravenous for more metrics Up until my crash (the good news: hip bruised, not broken), and like many other people, the desire to gather metrics about my own state of being has, over the last five years, approached insatiable. There’s so much information available to mine, via accelerometers on our wrists (fitness trackers), GPS-technology in our pockets (smartphones), and databases in the thin air (the Cloud). We can consistently review the quality of our sleep, the calories in our diets coming from fat, carbs, or protein, and the regularity with which we turn away from our work in exchange for some fresh air. The quantified self, a term reportedly popularized by a Wired writer in 2007 but arguably as old as the ancient Olympic Games or any phenomenon that might drive humans to explore their capabilities, is nowadays a commanding biological dashboard available to just about anyone willing to invest a few hundred dollars into personal electronics. In deeply measuring our states of activity, being, and behavior, the argument goes, all of this self-quantification allows us to know ourselves better. Or does it? Trust yourself, not your smartwatch In terms of quantifying myself, I’d come a long way since the days of using a kitchen timer to lengthen meditation sessions, and a Univac-style heart-rate monitor to log running performance. In the last couple years I’ve tracked every watt generated while riding my bicycle, and via app come face to face with the nutritional blunder that is late-night chocolate bingeing. (That candy bar was six hundred calories?!?) When I’d get only four hours of sleep ahead of a scheduled morning workout or a big day at the desk, the dismal figure and lousy sleep quality would, courtesy of my on-wrist technology, stare...

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The best GPS running watches in 2015: Polar, Garmin, TomTom, and more
Jul24

The best GPS running watches in 2015: Polar, Garmin, TomTom, and more

Whether you’re a marathon athlete or a once-a-month jogger, it’s a tricky task to find a running watch perfectly suited for your needs. We’ve whittled down the sea of options and compiled a list of the best GPS running watches that can track everything from your heart rate to the route you take home. Take a look and find the watch that works for you. Fitbit Surge The best GPS watch for quality over quantity Critics’ rating*: 4.1 out of 5 (*Wearables.com compiles the top critic ratings online for an aggregate score) The Fitbit Surge is by far one of the best simply activity trackers on the market, especially with Fitbit’s updates to the tracker’s software and built-in GPS. The GPS watch also boasts some hot features, like smartphone notifications, a touchscreen, monochrome LCD, with a display size of 20.88 x 24.36 mm. However, with all of this technology packed in, the Fitbit Surge is a bit bulkier than many might like. But with a battery that lasts nearly a week on a single charge, the smartwatch packs a serious punch in the fitness department.  Compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android smartphones. Garmin Forerunner 220 The best GPS running watch for data on the go Critics’ rating: 4.0 out of 5 The Forerunner 220 is the newest edition to Garmin’s suite of Forerunner fitness watches. Sleeker, quicker, and better equipped, the 220 combines a GPS tracker, a heart rate monitor, and a built-in accelerometer to track every aspect of your run. Both ANT+ and Bluetooth compatible, the fitness watch is able to wirelessly pair and upload data to your smartphone. The 220 is also compatible with Garmin Connect, Garmin’s online running community, where users can compare data with other athletes. Be sure to utilize the tracker’s heart rate zone to reach that perfect run. Something else we really love about this GPS watch? How it knows to pause tracking whenever you pause on your run.  Compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones. Garmin Forerunner 15 The best GPS watch for getting started Critics’ rating: 3.8 out of 5 A high-tech running watch can be seriously intimidating thing (but one that’s perfectly suited for the fitness technofile), so the Garmin Forerunner 15 is stripped down to the bare essentials. For those who are just beginning a running regimen — or for those who don’t want to spend too much money on a device —  this Garmin GPS watch covers your pace, location, distance, heart rate, and calories burned, while also being waterproof up to 50m. Even when you’re not running, the 15 acts as a pedometer and calorie counter. Like the 220, this...

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The best fitness trackers in 2015 under $100: Fitbit, Moov, Misfit, and more
Jul17

The best fitness trackers in 2015 under $100: Fitbit, Moov, Misfit, and more

The sheer number of fitness trackers currently on the market can make it difficult to choose the best one for your lifestyle, especially when you are on a budget. But have no fear! You need not sacrifice your wallet in exchange for an accurate and helpful device. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 most affordable yet ultimately useful fitness trackers in order of price. Whether you are just looking to get moving or training for a triathlon, Wearables.com has you covered. The best fitness trackers under a Benjamin Xiaomi Mi Band This one is exciting, because the Mi Band is the most affordable fitness tracker on the market by far, and it recently became available for sale in the United States. At a mere $15, the colorful band behaves as both a fitness tracker and sleep tracker, has a battery life of a whole month, and doubles as an alarm clock.Standout feature: The price literally cannot be beat Pros: Automatic sleep sensor and sleep tracking Cons: Basic functions; only measures steps/distance… but again, that price! Razer Nabu X You probably haven’t heard about the Razer Nabu X, but at a retail price of $50, you’ll be glad you do now. Not just for gamers anymore, the sleek fitness band tracks steps, calories burned, and offers sleep tracking. While this list focuses on fitness trackers, it is worth mentioning that the Nabu also notifies the wearer of incoming messages, calls, and whatever other alerts you would want to discreetly see. That’s a pretty great package of capabilities for such a small price. Standout feature: Good for gamers and social networking via band-to-band communication Pros: Notification features Cons: Its functionality as a fitness tracker actually comes second to its notification/communication abilities Critics’ rating*: 3 (*Wearables.com compiles the top critic ratings online for an aggregate score) Jawbone UP Move The UP Move has a similar design to the Zip, but instead of a screen, Jawbone’s fitness tracker has LED lights. It also retails similarly to the Zip at $50. Aesthetically speaking, the Zip has a leg up — but it really comes down to a matter of preference. Jawbone’s UP Move does come with a wristband option, but that’ll cost you an extra $15. Neither of them can be worn in the shower or during a swim, but then again that is not their primary purpose. The UP Move offers coaching via Jawbone’s Smart Coach system, but is not compatible with Windows or any of the exercise apps you may already be using, like Run Keeper or My Fitness Pal.Standout feature: SmartCoach Pros: Helps motivate with SmartCoach Cons: Nit-picky compatibility, kind-of sort-of ugly Critics’ rating: 3.8 Misfit Flash The Misfit Flash is an arguably less glitzy (it’s made of plastic) but more...

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5 amazing pieces of wearable tech being implemented in professional sports
Jul13

5 amazing pieces of wearable tech being implemented in professional sports

Wearable tech in professional sports is quite literally a game-changing development. It eradicates what is perhaps the most infuriating facet of any professional game: subjectivity. Fans will no longer be able to accuse players of missing shots they “should” have made, because hard facts will determine whether the shot was even possible. Coaches will be able to tell with precision which of their athletes are too tired for the next play or which are suffering from an injury they have yet to start feeling. Moreover, data will tell coaching staff who isn’t pulling their weight on the team — and why. As fans watch players’ stats onscreen and coaches keep a close watch on previously immeasurable statistics, wearable tech currently being used by professional sports organizations may catapult athletic programs to higher levels of efficiency and accountability. National Football League Catapult Catapult calls itself “the most used secret in sport,” though it may not be such a secret anymore. The golden egg of this Australian-based company is a lightweight device worn on the body that aims at analyzing and reducing sports injuries as they happen. The sensor is capable of tracking over 100 metrics including speed, acceleration, distance, and heart rate, sending that information to coaches on the sidelines in real time. In this way teams can determine if particular workouts are doing more harm than good. By specifically choosing not to partner with tech-specific companies, Catapult gave itself the freedom and ability to work with “nearly half of the NFL teams, a third of NBA teams, and 30 major college programs,” notes Fast Company in its list of the 50 most innovate companies in the world this year (of which Catapult is #12!). Not only does this sports technology save players from potentially deadly injuries, it makes them more efficient at what they do. Zebra Last season, the NFL partnered with Illinois-based company Zebra Technologies to embed RFID chips into the players’ shoulder pads, allowing for the broadcast of player statistics to fans in real time. This changes things for those “couch coaches,” as Zebra GM Jill Stelfox calls them. “If we know closing distance of a defender and an offensive guy, you can really know whether that hit would be made or whether he really could’ve made that play.” The goal is to install receivers in NFL stadiums that would log player location up to six inches, as well as track acceleration, deceleration, and distance. The sensors themselves are smaller than a quarter and run on watch batteries. A few months ago, the NFL signed a four-year deal with Sportradar U.S., a data network whose aim is to record scores, play-by-plays, and player stats in real time. Zebra’s hardware coupled with this pool of information...

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