Jawbone attempts lower-price comeback
Smart wristband pioneer Jawbone has launched a lower-priced version of its latest fitness tracker in an attempt to woo back customers put off by the high price tag for its UP3 and UP4 bands.
Retailing at $199, the flagship Jawbone UP4 features a heart-rate sensor and NFC capability – meaning that it can be set-up for wrist-based payment along with an “eligible” American Express card.
If you can do nicely without the Amex functionality, Jawbone offers the UP3 for $179, although this is $30 more expensive than the rival Fitbit Charge HR.
There is still no built-in display in any Jawbone fitness tracker: Users need to rely on the sync with their smartphone to read data in real-time.
Now Jawbone has introduced the $149 UP2 band, which is similar to the UP3, but excludes heart rate tracking. Clearly Jawbone is not competing on price alone: The UP2 is pegged $50 above the standard Fitbit Flex band, which offers the same functionality, and $20 more expensive than the Fitbit Charge.
Can black plastic bands ever be “stylish”?
Focusing on making a piece of black plastic sound stylish, Jawbone’s advertising copy says: “Fitness trackers never looked so good.” The company also claims the UP2 is the “thinnest, sleekest, most style-savvy tracker” but we disagree: Although it’s certainly more sculpted than the Fitbit Charge line-up, it’s definitely not the thinnest band on the market, while sleekness and style-savviness are of course a question of taste.
Jawbone tries to distinguish between the models by pegging the UP4 and UP3 as logging “advanced activity, advanced sleep” thanks to the heart-rate sensor, while the humble UP2 only records “activity and sleep tracking”. You gets what you pays for.
In terms of design, it’s a departure for Jawbone from the overlapping open loop style of earlier Jawbone UP models – which we found had an annoying tendency to catch on clothing.
Meanwhile Fitbit stock has almost doubled in price since the company’s IPO back in June. Fitbit just announced its first quarterly results as a publicly-held company. Despite selling some 4.5 million “health and fitness” wearable devices in the last financial quarter, Fitbit stock dropped by around 15 percent in after-hours trading.