Up is no longer down. Jawbone on Tuesday announced a do-over for the Up, the company’s $130 fitness- and sleep-tracking wristband accessory. The Up, which is available in three sizes and eight colors, tracks steps, distance, and sleep phases, and it aims to provide motivation for healthier eating and increasing daily movement.
But this isn’t the first time Jawbone—a company more famous for its audio accessories—has released the Up. The Up was initially unveiled (with a cheaper, $100 price tag) just over a year ago. At that time, Jason Fass, the company’s Director of Product Management, told Macworld that the company’s goal with the Up was “to make people consumers of their own health, so that health becomes a topic of conversation, like the TV show from last night or that new app that you downloaded.”
Unfortunately, though, the topic of conversation surrounding the Up’s initial release was that—for some customers, anyway—the device stopped working. Jawbone consistently replaced defective Up wristbands, and eventually announced a refund program for dissatisfied customers whose Ups were no longer on the up-and-up.
In December 2011, Jawbone CEO Hosain Rahman wrote a letter to Up owners, apologizing for the issues. He said that the company had identified “an issue with two specific capacitors in the power system that affects the ability to hold a charge in some of our bands.” Other issues users had reported included problems with syncing, and the tendency of the band’s detachable clip—which covers the plug for syncing and charging—to get lost.
The re-released Up still appears to leverage the integrated plug and cap that the original incarnation employed; it’s a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) plug that you insert directly into the headphone jack of your iPhone to sync the Up. That’s in contrast to similar trackers like the Fitbit, which instead rely on Bluetooth for cable-free syncing. A Jawbone spokesperson confirmed to Macworld via email that the “Up has been rebuilt from the ground up, and that does include improvements to the cap.”
Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD, and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children's book parody for adults, is called "The Kid in the Crib." Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids.