When it comes to activity trackers, it is getting a little difficult to get excited about the release of yet another one. As Steve pointed out in his post on the 2013 CES, the market is starting to get a liiiiiittle crowded. Add to that the fact that so many companies are focusing on wrist-based sensors (e.g., the new Fitbit Flex, the Basis Band, the very popular Nike Fuelband), which, after our negative experience with the Jawbone Up, Steve and I remain very skeptical of (Hundreds of “steps” counted for moving my arms while driving? I don’t think so.), and you can understand why, when we got an email from Dave Scott, one of the founders of Amiigo, I was not immediately pumped to hear another activity tracker pitch. Boy, was I in for one heck of a surprise and boy, am I excited to share the Amiigo fitness sensor with you today. You think you’ve seen it all when it comes to activity trackers, and then something truly innovative like the Amiigo comes along and blows you away again!
So, what is this Amiigo I speak of? It is, first and foremost (and like most activity trackers), a device to track overall activity levels throughout the user’s day. It records steps taken/motion (via an accelerometer), calories burned, blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, and heart rate. At first glance, it appears that these are similar features to those offered by the Basis Band, but Amiigo goes a step further by including a shoe clip that can be detached from the wristband and put on your shoelaces. The presence of the shoe clip, along with a series of algorithms, allows Amiigo to automatically identify the type and track the duration of an activity you are participating in. So, gone are the days of just counting how many minutes you were active. Now, you’ll have a detailed record of the specific activities you were doing. Amazing, right!? For example, the Amiigo can tell the difference between using an elliptical machine versus running on the treadmill. It can also count reps and identify the type of exercise if you are lifting weights or doing other strength-building activities. In fact, the Amiigo can automatically track over 100 types of exercises, and, if there’s an activity it doesn’t recognize, you just have to tell it what it is after you do it, and it will remember during future workouts.
One of the other great parts of the Amiigo is that the wristband and the shoe clip can work with each other or they can be used independently of one-another. Not wearing shoes? Just wear the wristband. Wristband doesn’t go with your fancy outfit? Just use the shoe clip. The wristband and the shoe clip are also waterproof, so you are all set to track your pool workouts, making it a great activity tracker option for triathletes. In terms of sizing, the wristband is adjustable, so you can customize it to your wrist, which I feel will offer a much better fit, and thus, better accuracy, than the set sizes of the Jawbone Up or Nike Fuelband (S, M, L). Finally, Amiigo recognizes the importance in today’s world of making your fitness experience social. The band will sync via Bluetooth 4.0 to both iOS and Android devices, and you can share your activity with your friends, and compete with them by participating in challenges/earning points. The software platform is also going to be open-source, so people can customize it for themselves or add more tools to share with others!
It goes without saying that the Amiigo is an amazing device–devices like the Nike Fuelband and the upcoming Fitbit Flex and Basis Band better watch out! Amiigo is going to give them a run for their money. The company’s founders just launched their IndieGoGo campaign on Monday, Jan. 14, and have already raised over 140% of their $90,000 goal with 42 days to go, so, clearly, people are very excited about this product. The device is set to be released in June 2013, and is estimated to retail for over $125. You can pick one up for less through the IndieGoGo campaign for $99-$119 (depending on your color choice-black, white/green, or white/blue) or two Amiigos of any color for $210. We’ll be offering a review of the device in the coming months, so be sure to check back to learn more about how it performs!