By Alexandra Burlacu | Nov 15, 2012 09:15 AM EST
Nearly one year after releasing its wearable fitness tracker called "Up," Jawbone is now re-releasing the product with a slew of improvements.
Jawbone has decided to give its life-tracking wristband another chance, noting that this time it has learned from its errors. The original Up was very promising, but failed dramatically nonetheless. It was one of the most immediately popular gadgets when it launched last year, but issues soon started to mar the innovative experience.
According to Jawbone, the new bracelet aims to fix the massive issues of the original, and deliver on its great potential. Just like its predecessor, the new Up band is designed to keep tabs on the user's movements, sleep, meals, drinks, mood, and other activities. The bracelet is basically designed to track the user's lifestyle well beyond just pure fitness, and it even has a smart alarm that optimizes itself with the wearer's sleep cycle. Overall, the new band is a lot like the original, but with the promise that this time it will hold up.
The fatal flaw that knocked down the original Up was that the band was not able to withstand daily use, wear and tear. Jawbone apparently did not consider weird stretching of the bracelets, long showers, exposure to soap, and other such instances that affected the original band. As issues started to arise, Jawbone issued a blanked refund to anyone who bought the Up bracelet, even if they didn't return it.
Instead of giving up, however, Jawbone got back to work, determined to fix what was wrong. The company added a new TPU material to improve the waterproof seals, used stronger wiring, and coated the wires to protect them more effectively. The new bracelets have all been tested by a group of hundreds of users, who subjected the bands to "real life testing" conditions for 46 weeks.
Aside from durability, Jawbone added some other minor tweaks as well. Users can now use Facebook to connect with friends, though Bluetooth or NFC are still not supported. According to Jawbone, wireless technology was sacrificed in favor of saving battery and space.
"Last year we launched Up to great fanfare. We struck a chord with consumers and then, of course, we started seeing issues," Travis Bogard, Jawbone's Vice President of Product Management and Strategy, told ABC News. "At the core we realized that we pushed the hardware too far, further than we understood at the time."
"In the last year we have learned a ton and we learned a lot from what became this beta in the real world. We got a lot of rich data from our users," he added. "We had to create whole new tests for his. We even created our own shower called the Big Shower 2000 - it would go through different heats of water, different containments of water, and then bend it thousands of times."
The new Up life-tracking bracelets from Jawbone reportedly passed all durability tests successfully, and are now ready to improve users' lives. The new wristbands are available for $129.99 from Jawbone's U.S. online store, as well as from Apple, AT&T, or Best Buy stores nationwide. The Up band currently comes only in black, with other colors set to follow later on - mint green, light gray, blue, red, orange, navy blue, and forest green.
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