Jawbone is looking to reassert itself in the fitness tracker game by adding two more fitness trackers to the UP3 and UP Move that were announced late last year. The UP2 and UP4 are attempts to bring Jawbone’s fitness trackers in line with a few greater trends in the fitness tracker market by going more lightweight and adding mobile payments.
The UP4 is the one with mobile payments, thanks to a partnership with American Express. Thanks to NFC connectivity, you can make a payment using your American Express credit card by tapping the UP4 to a contactless payment processor. You’ll be able to use an iOS or Android app to pair card information with the UP4, and the payment system uses tokenization to ensure payment security (tokenization being when the bank issues a virtual token containing no card information for the device to use during transactions). Otherwise, the UP4 is a lighter version of the UP3, which includes the new continuous heart rate monitor that Jawbone introduced last year.
The UP2 forgoes payments, and looks to be a lighter, cheaper version of the older UP24 model. The size of the tracker has been cut almost in half and battery life is estimated at seven days, so it should be a much more ideal as a 24/7 fitness tracker. It won’t have the new features introduced in the UP3 or UP4, but it’ll still be able to give you gentle reminders to wake up or to get moving after a long period of inactivity, in addition to recording all of the usual fitness stats like distance traveled and steps taken. It’s a little stripped down, but that also helps keep the price down.
It’s going to be a hard road for these two fitness trackers, though. Only having American Express as a payments partner severely limits the pool of potential customers for the UP4, which is tough in a time when fitness trackers are becoming a hard sell anyway because of smartwatches. Granted, there’s something to be said for a device that strips away all but the most important features for simplicity’s sake (as opposed to the everything but the kitchen sink approach of the Apple Watch), but not having the support of Visa or Mastercard is going to be an immediate dealbreaker for an awful lot of people.
The UP2 looks like a nice, simplified fitness tracker, although the $99 price tag is still a little high for what appears to be the mid-range fitness tracker in the family. It’s available online now in black, and will hit retail stores starting early next week, with more colors to come in the months ahead. The UP4 will retail for $200 later this year, while the UP3 remains at $180, and, despite being announced late last year, has yet to ship.