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Eat, sleep, strap on a fitness band, repeat

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(Official CES Facebook page)

(Official CES Facebook page)

The Consumer Electronics Show this past January showcased many different technologies and innovations that left the fitness world buzzing. To start off 2016, numerous companies are bringing out their best with new applications, accessories and trackers.

One of the most talked about releases of the New Year comes from Under Armour, which came out swinging with its new HealthBox, boasting “the world’s first Connected Fitness system.”  With a sleek, solid black front and a bright red interior, the display of the band looks a lot like Garmin’s Vivosmart, but has a little more of that Under Armour sporty image to it. The band does a lot of the same things that every other fitness tracker does, including sleep measuring, step counting and heart rates when paired with the heart rate monitor, but also takes a lot of cues from other successful brands, offering functions such as an activity alerts that notifies you when you are inactive for too long, phone notifications, an alarm that vibrates on your wrist and music control when connected to a phone.

Under Armour, much like Garmin, brought a heart rate monitor into the picture as an interdependent aspect of the band, and added some originality through an LED light on the monitor, which turns on so that you know it is working, and a connected system called “Willpower,” which measures the intensity of your workout. All of these stats are collected, recorded and displayed in Under Armour Record app.

The HealthBox brings an innovative component to the table with the Under Armour Scale. This circular, smooth scale comes in full black featuring the Under Armour logo in the middle and a LED weight measurement display at the top. The scale recognizes up to eight users and will auto-recognize you based on your weight and subsequently sync to Under Armour Record.

It seems like Under Armour took the best-selling parts of other fitness company’s tools and added its own spin. It will be interesting to see what kind of reviews the HealthBox  gets, as it not only introduces new technology and tracking options, but also marks the entrance of Under Armour as a bigger player in the fitness tracking arena. It is also worth mentioning that Under Armour is taking this entrance very seriously, as it can be seen from promised releases of other high-tech products such as the Gemini 2 fitness tracking sneakers, and wireless, heart-rate monitor ear buds.

Jawbone remains a steady contender in fitness tracking innovation, and the company is keeping up well with the trend of fashionable fitness gear. With the classic look of a stylish bracelet, the Jawbone UP4 is still getting some attention for the fact that you can link an eligible American Express card to the bracelet so that you can pay on the go.

Jawbone holds the corner on making chic bracelets that just happen to be famously accurate fitness trackers and apparently now credit cards. While Jawbone still lacks an on-band display and some of the other mechanisms of an average fitness tracker, an accurate fitness bracelet that people can wear anywhere and now actually utilize as something more than a tracker appeals to a large audience.

In the midst of big companies developing new technology and old companies improving their best sellers, Fitbit added yet another basic fitness tracker to its library, the Fitbit Blaze. The Blaze stays true to the Fitbit assortment, for better or worse; however, it does come with some exciting new features such as on-screen personal trainer workouts through FitStar, smart notifications and music control.

The Blaze looks like it is going to be a good enough of a fitness band, and Fitbit fans are probably going to like the addition. Still, I do not understand why Fitbit insists on sticking with their wrist-based heart rate measurements, which have been proven consistently to be inaccurate and ineffective. Furthermore, Fitbit seems to be adverse to any sort of movement toward a more stylish watch, which has been a complaint among buyers for some time now. For a company that is struggling to keep its place on the top of the fitness tracking industry, the Blaze feels like a safe edition that may knock Fitbit down a notch.

These are only a few of the new releases and trends for fitness technology. This year you can expect to see some creative innovations in the form of fitness tech clothing and style, and you can also expect to see some changes in the pecking order of fitness tech companies and merchandise.

Annamarie Wadiak can be reached at [email protected]

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