Fitness trackers have been improving steadily over the past few years, but if the latest gadget lives up to its lofty claims, they may have met their match in Moov. The newly-announced Moov fitness gadget aims to be more than just a fitness tracker, it wants to be your fitness coach. The problem with most fitness trackers is their passive nature. They simply sit on your wrist, collecting data, and leave it up to you to parse what it means.
Moov, on the other hand, takes that data, relays it to your phone for processing, and uses what it knows about you and your goals coach you on exercising better. It wants you to be stronger and it wants you to be safer. Moov worked with real athletes and trainers to design Moov's algorithms and ideal forms. By know how the pros do it, Moov can instruct you on how to run, box, swim, bike, and exercise like them. It can even adjust to your known injuries, coaching you to adjust your stride to avoid aggravating that knee injury from your intramural frisbee days. Moov is about precision, whereas other fitness trackers tend to be about generalization.
Moov also has a social component, pitting you against your friends that also have Moov trackers. And, keeping with the coaching and encouraging aspect of Moov, it will actively compare you to said friends and egg you on to beat whatever they've just accomplished. It's one thing to beat yourself, it's another to edge out your friends — and for them to be told about it.
Currently, Moov is projected for a release this summer, initially supporting iPhone and with Android support coming in the fall. Each fitness tracking thing that Moov can do — running, biking, swimming, cardio boxing, and weight training — will be a separate app. Those five are the basis, but Moov is building more, including apps to coach you through yoga and golfing.
Moov itself is simply a small 1.5-inch disc that you strap onto your wrist, bicep, ankle, or whatever is most appropriate for that exercise. If you're doing pushups, Moov goes on your bicep to track your form. For boxing it's on your wrist and when biking on your ankle. Unlike something like the Nike FuelBand or Fitbit, Moov is really only meant to be worn during exercise. As such, it only gets about 8-10 hours of battery life. That powers an array of accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers, plus a Bluetooth 4.0 radio for connecting with your phone.
Moov is projected for a release this summer at $120, though if you preorder one now you can get it for $59.95. They're also offering package discounts that bring the price per unit down by $10.
So what do you think? Is Moov the fitness tracker / digital coach that you've been waiting for?
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.