Category Archives: Apps

Wello Mobile Case Turns Your Smartphone Into A Health Tracker

Your smartphone could soon be all you need to perform a quick check-up following the release of a new mobile phone case which turns your device into a health tracker.

Looking to dispel the recent surge of interest surrounding smartwatches, the Wello case from Azoi can track your blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and blood oxygen levels and even measure and display ECG waves from your heart. Users can also test their lung function through a small included attachment to blow into, with the data then being transferred to an accompanying app which monitors and displays the results.

wello health tracker case flat screen

Wello can monitor several key health indicators to ensure you stay in shape

The thin and ultra-light case is compatible with all iOS phones with Bluetooth LE, which include the iPhone 4S, 5 and 5S. The technology will also work with all Android KitKat devices, however not as a case, but as an independent insert the size of a business card.

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Google Announces Android Wear – The OS For Smartwatches

Google has confirmed the launch of Android Wear – a tweaked version of the company’s mobile operating system designed specifically for wearable technology devices.

In a company blog post, Google senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps, Sundar Pichai, described how the new OS will allow the search engine giant to extend Android to a rapidly growing product sector, with smartwatches the company’s primary target.

Android is bringing its stylish look to a smartwatch near you

“Most of us are rarely without our smartphones in hand,” Pichai wrote. “But we’re only at the beginning; we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology. That’s why we’re so excited about wearables—they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.”

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Pebble App Store Finally Comes To Android

Pebble has announced a new version of its appstore which allows Android users to access and download apps, a month after launching the service for iOS devices.

In a blog post on the company’s site, Pebble apologised for the delay in providing the service to Android users.

“It’s taken a bit longer than expected,” the blog post said, “but we wanted our Android users to enjoy the same seamless and delightful experience we recently provided to Pebblers on iOS.”

Android users can now download apps for their device

The new app also features a revamped user interface design, alongside several new features, including a directory which lets users browse, find, and install the latest “watchapps” for Pebble, as well as the Watchapp locker, which lets users manage the apps they have already installed.

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Best of the wearables at Mobile World Congress 2014

This week has seen the annual Mobile World Congress event taking place in Barcelona. The biggest event of the year for mobile device manufacturers, this year many companies brought along their wearable technology devices to show off to the crowds.

We’ll hopefully have some hands-on reviews to bring you soon, but in the meantime, please find a selection of the best from the show below!

Samsung Gear 2

Samsung Gear 2

Availability and pricing: April, pricing TBD

Compatibility: “Dozens” of Samsung Galaxy devices

What Is It? The Samsung Gear 2 is a smartwatch that can display notifications from your smartphone on your wrist. It also has fitness tracking capabilities with pedometer functions and a built-in heart-rate sensor. Unlike the company’s first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, the Gear 2 is based on the Tizen platform, not Android.

The Good: The Gear 2 now has a built-in heart sensor. It is lighter and thinner than the Galaxy Gear and feels better on the wrist. You can also swap the bands with any standard 22mm watch strap. Battery life is now extended from one day to two to three days.

The Bad: Only compatible with Galaxy devices. It’s also still rather bulky.

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Samsung Gear 2 Neo

Availability and pricing: April, pricing TBD

Compatibility: “Dozens” of Samsung Galaxy phones

What Is It? The Gear 2 Neo is similar to the Gear 2, but lacks a camera. It’s also made from polycarbonate plastic rather than metal, thus lighter than the Gear 2.

The Good: Though pricing has not been announced, it will be cheaper than the Gear 2.

The Bad: Only compatible with Galaxy devices.

Samsung Gear Fit

Samsung Gear Fit

Availability and pricing: April, pricing TBD

Compatibility: Samsung Galaxy devices

What Is It? Unlike the Gear 2 watches, the Gear Fit’s primary function is that of a fitness tracker. It includes a heart-rate sensor, pedometer and sleep tracker. The wristband can still display notifications from your phone, but there is no built-in mic for calls or a camera. The Gear Fit runs on a real-time operating system, not Tizen or Android.

The Good: The 1.84-inch Super AMOLED is absolutely gorgeous. The wristband is lightweight and comfortable to wear, and the curved display rests nicely on the wrist.

The Bad: Limited app ecosystem. Only compatible with Galaxy devices.

Huawei TalkBand B1

Huawei TalkBand B1

Availability and pricing:Q2, 99 Euros (around $135 U.S.)

Compatibility: Android (2.3 or higher) and iOS (5.0 or higher) devices

What Is It? The TalkBand B1 is an interesting device, as it combines a fitness tracker with a Bluetooth headset. As a fitness band, it has a 1.4-inch non-touch OLED display and tracks steps taken, calories burned and hours slept. But then you can pop the main piece out of the rubber strap and use it as a Bluetooth headset to take calls.

The Good: The hybrid design helps minimize the number of gadgets you have to carry. The strap has an integrated USB connector for easy charging.

The Bad: The integrated Bluetooth headset design makes it a bit thick up top. The band is also very difficult to put on, and the two-prong fastener doesn’t feel terribly secure.

Sony SmartBand

Sony SmartBand

Availability and pricing:March, 99 Euros (around $135 U.S.)

Compatibility: Android 4.4 devices

What Is It? Aside from tracking the standard fitness measurements and alerting you to phone notifications, the SmartBand was designed to help chronicle your daily life. Using a companion smartphone app called Lifelog, you can press a button on the band to create a “life bookmark” and it will remember where you were, who you were with, photos taken and blips of information from that place and time. All that data is then recorded in the app in a sort of visual journal.

The Good: The SmartBand has a very minimalistic and comfortable design.

The Bad: It lacks any kind of display, so you still have to pull out your smartphone to view your notifications and check your fitness stats.

[All content taken from The Verge]

New study demonstrates the most popular run routes in world’s major cities

Ever been out for a run and thought that it seems busier than usual? Everyone has their own favourite routes, especially in cities, where getting to experience wider open spaces or even just some greenery or water!

Some fantastic new images from the folks over at Flowing Data have compiled data from RunKeeper users to plot the most popular routes for a range of cities – and the results make for interesting viewing.

Starting with our home town, we can see that the favourite routes around London all focus on the river Thames. There is a major surge of activity around the Embankment and Westminster areas as runner look to take in the sights and the river all at once. Elsewhere, the city’s major parks are also popular, with Hyde Park, Regents’ Park and St. James’ Park all featuring highly. The huge surge of activity around the centre of the city is due to the popularity of lunchtime runs, as time-poor employees look to get some exercise into their lunch breaks.

New York is next, with the seafront areas around Manhattan proving very popular with runners. Central Park is unsurprisingly popular as well, with many runners continuing up towards Harlem and the Bronx. Southwards of the city, Brooklyn Heights and Sunset Park prove major attractions as runners flock to the Hudson River’s edge.

Now for Paris, which sees a very even spread throughout the city. Runners here apparently like to take a major loop to the Bois de Boulogne in the West and the Bois des Vincennes in the East.

Lastly, Sydney – where the runners tend not to stray outside the city, but instead look towards the seafront to make up their routes.

The maps were built by Dr. Nathan Yau. “There are many exercise apps that allow you to keep track of your running, riding, and other activities,” he said.

Yau decided that the information was too personal, and wanted to join the individual tracks together.

‘If there’s one quick (and expected) takeaway, it’s that people like to run by the water and in parks, probably to get away from cars and the scenery.

‘In the smaller inland cities, there seem to be a few high-traffic roads with less running elsewhere.’

Flowing Data has a wide range of other cities, mainly in the US but also in Europe – check it out!

Nabu SmartBand covers all the bases

Razer is a company you might associate first and foremost with audio or gaming peripherals, but this year’s CES contained a lot of companies entering the wearable technology space for the first time.

So meet the Nabu, not the Star Wars planet, but Razer’s take on wearable tech. Part smartwatch and part fitness band (like the Jawbone Up), the Nabu provides the best of both worlds.

The Razer Nabu allows your to take calls on the go

There’s the public side on the outside of the band that shows basic notifications like incoming calls. Then, for a little more privacy from prying eyes, there’s a private screen that’s located on the inside of the wrist, which will show information such as emails, messages and the biometric data that the Nabu is constantly collecting.

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Race Yourself AR app brings the next generation of tech into your workout

Augmented Reality is undoubtedly one of the next big trends to hit technology, with developers coming up with ever more interesting ways to use it. We’ve previously covered how gamification of your run or workout can help spur you on, even if it involved a little fear – but now a new app is really taking it to the next level…

Race Yourself is an app for Google Glass which, using augmented reality, gives you an avatar to compete against in the real world. This avatar can then be put into more than 30 different game modes, from simply racing against yourself to being chased by a giant Indiana Jones-style boulder and even hordes of zombies, similar to Zombies, Run, one of our favourite fitness apps of last year.

You can test yourself against past performances to boost your workout

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CycleNav joins forces with your smartphone to give you the best cycling routes

GPS devices are exceedingly popular for runners and hikers, as their pastimes often lead them off the beaten track. But so far, there has been a lack of dedicated options for cyclists, short of fastening a GPS unit or smartphone to the handlebars. Shown off at CES last week, the CycleNav from Schwinn looks to address this balance.

The CycleNav clips onto your handlebars to show you the way

On sale for $60, the device clips onto your handlebars and communicates with your smartphone via the free accompanying iOS or Android app and Bluetooth. Simply type in your destination, check your route, and the CycleNav will show you the way.

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Fitbit Force users report skin complaints

With Christmas now a distant memory, we’re hoping that those of you who bought or received any kind of wearable technology have been out and about getting some full usage of it! However, if this included a Fitbit Force, you may want to hold off for a while, as consumer advocacy blog The Consumerist is reporting that some users have ended up with skin complaints after using the device.

The troublesome device – FitbitForce

One of the blog’s readers, a chap named Kevin, who had been wearing and using his Fitbit Force since November, began noticing a problem after using the Force for six weeks, at which point he visited his doctor and had the rash diagnosed as contact dermatitis.

He said: “I really wanted to buy into the Fitbit ecosystem and I loved the device — before the injury. Considering I have medical expenses resulting from treatment, and the fact that healing is slow-going and may scar me, Fitbit has done nothing to show me that they care for their customers’ loyalty.”

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Feeling the need for that extra bit of motivation? Meet Pact, the app that will pay you for going to the gym

Sometimes we all need a little extra bit of encouragement to get ourselves out of the house – which is why Pact, (the new name for what was formerly GymPact) could well be the answer to many of our prayers.

Pact’s monetary rewards system could be that extra bit of motivation we all need…

To use the app, users can chose to make a “pact” to exercise, log your meals on MyFitnessPal.com or eat vegetables for a certain number of days. When you sign up for a pact, you select a certain monetary amount that is deducted from your credit card or PayPal account for each day you miss. If you hit your goal, then you get paid a reward, paid from the pool of money from people who didn’t make their pact.

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