The new Jawbone UP4, which offers American Express NFC payments
Remember the Jawbone UP3? The fully waterproof fitness band able to track not just your steps but your temperature, your heart rate even and your REM sleep? The one that was announced back in November 2014 but still hasn’t showed up?
Well, it’s now ready for launch, at least in the US, where it’ll be on sale from 20th April. Jawbone had some major struggles making the band waterproof, and apparently in the end simply cut its losses and ditched the feature. It’s now described as “splash proof”, which puts it in line with pretty much every other fitness band out there.
Jawbone says anyone who pre-ordered the UP3 (US$179) on account of its waterproofing can cancel and get a refund, while anyone whose shipping time has increased since pre-ordering will receive their choice of a US$40 discount on the band or a free Jawbone UP Move.
Bands on the run
The new Jawbone UP2
But there’s more! In a move that, given the company’s recent woes with release date slippage, might be described as “bold”, Jawbone has announced two more fitness bands: the UP2 and UP4.
The UP2 (US$99, on sale now in the US and later this year elsewhere) offers the functionality of the existing UP24 but in a 45 percent smaller band that more closely resembles the UP3 in styling. It tracks various activities, connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and comes with a claimed seven days of use per charge.
More interesting still is the UP4, Jawbone’s new flagship device. It offers similar activity tracking abilities and build quality to the UP3, but adds touchless, secure NFC payments to the mix via an agreement with American Express. Users link it up with their AMEX card via the UP iOS or Android app. It’s the first fitness band to support NFC payments, but when you think about it, putting payments in a tracker makes a huge amount of sense: it’s a device designed to be worn all the time, and offers a much longer battery life than most smartwatches.
The issue here could be, again, the release date. Jawbone says the UP4 will arrive “this summer” (presumably in the US only, or at least the US first), which is a little vague – perhaps a way of covering itself against potential delays. The price, meanwhile, has yet to be revealed.