Jawbone hasn’t given up on the fitness tracker business, but it’s placing bigger bets on software by supporting third-party health bands.
The first of which is Huawei’s Talkband B2, a $180 fitness band whose tracking module detaches to double as a Bluetooth headset. Users will be able to track their exercise and sleep through the device, and sync the data to Jawbone’s Android or iOS apps, The Verge reports. While Jawbone already makes its software available Android Wear and Pebble smartwatches, the Talkband marks the first time Jawbone is supporting a device that’s a fitness tracker first and foremost.
That’s not to say the Talkband is a clone of Jawbone’s own Up fitness trackers. Currently, Jawbone doesn’t offer any fitness bands with built-in displays. The Talkband, meanwhile, has a monochrome OLED touch screen that can show time, basic notifications, and workout information. It lasts for about six days of active use on a charge.
Jawbone hasn’t given up the hardware fight either. The company currently sells a clip-on fitness module (the $50 Up Move), a basic fitness band (the $100 Up2), and a band with a heart health tracker (the $180 Up3). It’s also working on the Up4, which can pay with a tap at retail stores using American Express credit cards.
According to AppleInsider, Jawbone plans to bring its devices back to the Apple Store next month, after Apple gave them the boot in March . While the move may have looked like a way to reduce Apple Watch competition, it’s clear now that Apple was just wiping away stale inventory and figuring out the best trackers to carry in its stores.
Why this matters: Jawbone may be realizing that the market is only big enough for one massive, mainstream fitness tracker. That honor is clearly going to Fitbit, whose devices are far outselling Jawbone’s according to IDC. Jawbone’s best bet, then, could be to team with the growing number of cheaper, more specialized trackers that can’t build great software and services on their own. It’s safe to assume Huawei won’t be the last fitness band maker with Jawbone on board.