Jawbone is trying to separate itself from run-of-the-mill fitness trackers with its new Marketplace, selling third-party products that tie into Jawbone's own wearables.
For instance, Nest's Learning Thermostat can set your preferred bedtime temperature when you fall asleep sleep, and set a morning temperature when Jawbone detects that you've awoken. The Lose It Scale can automatically sync your weight to Jawbone's app, and the Fitocracy service provides personalized coaching based on your Jawbone activity. There's even a dog collar that lets you compare your own activity to that of your pet.
None of these integrations are new to Jawbone. It's just that Jawbone has now opened its own store, where you can easily find things that work with the company's fitness band and mobile apps.
The Marketplace's arrival comes just a couple days after rival fitness band maker Misfit announced its own set of hardware integrations, focusing on smart home controls. Starting in March, users of Misfit's $50 Flash wearable will be able to control thermostats, door locks, light bulbs, and home entertainment systems straight from their wrists.
While Jawbone's efforts are more fitness-related, and Misfit's are more about home automation, they're both trying to establish themselves as centerpieces in a world of connected hardware.
Why this matters: We're sounding like a broken record here, but it's getting very easy for companies to create fitness bands on the cheap, and new companies are popping up with more unique features than what Jawbone and Misfit offer. Instead of competing on hardware alone, Jawbone is trying to create a larger ecosystem that dirt-cheap, no-name wearables can't match. The Marketplace is Jawbone's way of making sure you're aware of it.