fitness

I used to be an active Kickstarter, having backed Pebble, the Buccaneer, a couple games and a bunch of other things. However, I didn’t back a single project in 2014 after realizing most will get horribly delayed and/or fall way short of what was promised. It makes more sense to simply wait for products to be ready and buy then.

The Dash by Bragi was one project I nearly gave into last year. I’ve mentioned them before on this blog. They’re essentially wireless Bluetooth earbuds with touch controls, microphone and fitness tracking. They look pretty sweet, and unsurprisingly Bragi received plenty of funding.

Engadget was able to get a hands-on with The Dash at CES and apparently they are for real: they look as advertised, touch controls work and they don’t fall out of your ears. The author says they will start shipping next month to the earliest backers.

I don’t know how good they are going to be, but let’s plan for the worse and hope for the best. Let’s assume The Dash is going to be a classic example of trying to do too many things and nothing well. If that’s the case, I know exactly what I would have cut: everything but the music and microphone.

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Looks like this is a Microsoft week. The Redmond company just revealed the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health. I must confess the strategy makes more sense than I expected it to.

Microsoft isn’t competing with Android Wear or Apple Watch as much as it is with Google Fit and Apple Health Kit. The latter along with Microsoft Health are cloud platforms to make life easier for developers of health products and services. An operating system for health if you will. This benefits the consumer too as data is able to follow her no matter what device or operating system she uses.

For example, I might have regular walking data on my iPhone or Moto X; data from the day I played tennis with my Fitbit, without my phone; data from when I played golf with my LG G Watch. Right now, all that data is siloed — there is no one central place to collect and analyze everything. Obviously, that sucks. Google Fit and Apple Health Kit are meant to be a solution but only works for Android devices and Apple devices respectively.

Microsoft’s pitch is that it will be multi-platform so customers and developers don’t have to worry about whether it’s Apple, Android or Windows — their data will continue to be gathered in one place.

It could work.

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According to Forbes, Microsoft will launch its wearable device in the coming weeks in time for the holiday season. It’s a health focused device and will work with Android, iPhone and of course Windows Phone.

I had written my concerns about the viability of a Microsoft wearable device before, and now that I’ve used the Moto 360 daily the last few weeks and the Pebble before that for over a year, my skepticism has only increased.

Let’s first examine the upside. Assuming Microsoft can pull off a great product and generate lots of interest and sales, it could undercut Android Wear and Apple Watch. Why develop (hardware and/or software) for a restricted platform, when there’s a successful multiplatform-platform available?

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