On Tuesday Jawbone which makes the Up activity tracking wristband announced it had purchased BodyMedia for an estimated $110 million. With the boom of activity trackers hitting the market there would no doubt need to be a consolidation. I didn’t expect this to start so soon and more importantly I feel Jawbone chose very wisely as BodyMedia is an early pioneer that started in 1999 and has some serious chops around data accuracy, a portfolio of patents and FDA approval for products.
BodyMedia provided my first experience with an activity tracking device two years ago. Since then we have seen many companies enter the space competing for a top spot among consumers. Jawbone struggled with their initial launch but has since come back very strong and is usually mentioned in the same breath as other top trackers. I feel Jawbone made a fantastic strategic decision here. They bring in the hardware and data experience of BodyMedia under their wings where they can bestow their design and marketing which I feel are much stronger with regards to their devices and apps and appeal better to consumers. Those are my thoughts after simultaneously testing both of the devices along with a Fitbit One and Nike Fuelband which I hope to provide my full comparison very soon.
As if the Bodymedia acquisition wasn’t enough news, Jawbone used the stage to also announce a bi-directional API in the form of the “Up Platform” and initial integration with a slew of services that included Withings, RunKeeper, IFTTT and others. They’ve already updated the iOS app with support and hopefully the Android version will be updated in the near future. This is another huge win as being able to have portable data that can be integrated into aggregation services is becoming extremely important and a major distinguishing factor as we move on from data tracking to data insights that are drawn across multiple data points. Any device that plans on surviving in the future will need an API…period.
“The reality is that you’re never going to have one app, or one thing, that’s the only way you look at [health and wellness],” says Travis Bogard, Jawbone’s VP of product management.
This quote is taken from Fast Company which illustrates the importance of having this mentality in which Jawbone recognizes that “openness is the gateway to a strategic advantage in this space.” They also wrote another great piece with thoughts on the announcement here. This has just been some great news and I can’t wait to see what Jawbone and Bodymedia has up their sleeves over the coming year based on this partnership.