I got really excited about Up by Jawbone as the first posts were published. My interests was because of it’s ability to ambiently track my walking habits without getting in my way. I was curious to see what that experience would be like and how that data would transfer to my iPhone. I wanted to test that interaction out. I also want to see how my behavior would change. I also wanted to experience it to see what new questions about fitness, measurement and interaction would pop into my head as the days passed. In the end I ended up returning the device.
The learning curve to figure out Up isn’t that difficult. What was difficult for me was to decide to track an activity or let things get tracked ambiently. I basically wanted to use the device to track how far I walked in a day. I walk my dog in the morning and walk to work from Midtown to Soho most days. I was kind of curious to see how far I walked and the number of calories I burned. The first failure was not having the ability to sort or filter my days to see when I lost time or made up time walking. To get the data off the bracelet I plugged it into my iPhone through the headphone jack. It seemed like there was almost a problem every time I tried syncing the device. I would have to unplug and replug and try to delete the cache over and over to get it to grab the data. Once the info was able to be displayed I really couldn’t do anything with it. Sharing and social functionality was pretty non existent.
The sleep functionality was really interesting. After setting my alarm via the app it would wake me up slightly early if I was in a light sleep by vibrating. I really liked that function. I would have liked to have the ability to set multiple alarms. Not necessairly to wake me up but alert me to alerts that I found necessary to get my attention. That was probably one of the more interesting experiences discovered. But unfortunately there was no way to alter the one time alarm.
I have an average wrist size. Using their measurement system suggested that I get the large version. The large felt a bit snug on my wrist but wasn’t too uncomfortable. What ultimately made me return my device was that the button to change modes didn’t work all the time. It wasn’t because the battery was dead but because it had a decent charge when I pugged it in to my iPhone. There were times when it missed my walk and I couldn’t set the sleep mode. The combination of not being able to do anything with the data, the buggy syncing and the ability to consistently collect data made it easy to return it.
Ultimately I really liked the concept of collecting information without having to do much at the time of it being on. Up hasn’t gone far enough with creating options for the person using the device to start slicing the data in ways to make it meaningful information. As a first release Up provides a glimpse into the potential of collecting ambient data. The next step is to work on the filtering of that information which is not going to be difficult to do with future app releases. The difficult thing will be to trust a device that doesn’t always collect the data in the first place.