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Fitbit unveils new Charge, Flex

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Fitbit this week unveiled two new fitness wristbands, the Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 with new sleek looks and a more engaging experience designed to motivate users to reach their goal’s.

The following information was supplied by Fitbit:

  • Fitbit Charge 2: The most popular fitness wristband from Fitbit just got better. In addition to PurePulse heart rate tracking, it now features an enhanced exercise experience, new health and fitness tools, the smart notifications you need most, and a new design with a larger display and interchangeable bands that easily let you go from a workout to a night out.
  • Fitbit Flex 2: Fitbit’s ultra-slim, first-ever swim-proof fitness wristband, features a removable tracker that transforms with classic bands, elegant bangles or pendants, allowing you to effortlessly track all-day activity, exercise and sleep in a style that’s all your own.

“Over the past nine years it has been our ability to innovate on both design and utility, and our deep understanding of what consumers want, that has made us the leading global wearable company,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit.

The newly launched FitBit Charge 2

The newly launched FitBit Charge 2

“Flex quickly became the best-selling tracker on the market as one of the first wearables to successfully merge fitness and fashion; we’ve revolutionised Flex 2 by making it swim-proof and adding more features in a design than is 30% smaller than the original. We broke new ground with Charge HR by making wrist-based heart rate accessible to millions of users around the world, and we’ve done it again with Charge 2, giving users a snapshot of their cardio fitness based on estimated VO2 Max.”

Fitbit, the world’s leading wearables company1, has reimagined Fitbit Charge HR, its most popular fitness wristband that was the first to bring continuous, automatic heart rate to your wrist. With a new, sleek look and an easy-to-read display that is four times larger than its predecessor, Charge 2 brings an experience that is more engaging, motivating and personal to help you reach your goals.

Top features include:

  • Innovations from PurePulse: Continuous heart rate tracking makes it easier to optimise workouts, better track calorie burn, and get a picture of your overall health. Charge 2 advances health and fitness tracking with two new impactful features that are powered by your personal heart rate:
    • Get a snapshot of your cardio fitness level: Automatically find out how fit you are with a personalised cardio fitness level and score, based on your estimated VO2 Max, that are calculated using your user profile, heart rate and exercise data. Plus, get guidance to take action and improve your score over time by increasing exercise frequency, intensity, or by reaching a healthier weight.
  • Relax with guided breathing sessions: Charge 2 offers a relaxing mindfulness experience that calms your body and mind through personalised deep-breathing sessions called “Relax”. Beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate determine your personalised breathing rate. Two-and five-minute sessions display real-time heart rate visualisations, animations and vibrational cues to help you align each inhale and exhale with the guide, and find moments of calm throughout your day. Research has shown that developing a long-term guided breathing practice can have health benefits including reducing stress and anxiety, and lowering blood pressure.
  • Enhanced fitness experience: Get real-time, actionable exercise stats right on the display so you can make instant adjustments during your workouts and improve over time.
    • Multi-sport modes: Track specific workouts like runs, bike rides, weights, yoga and more, plus get post-exercise summaries and a detailed report of your activity in the Fitbit app.
    • Connected GPS: Links your fitness wristband with the GPS in your smartphone to provide even more precise and actionable real-time stats, like pace and distance when you’re running, while recording a map of your route in the app.
    • Interval workout mode: Guides you in alternating periods of high-intensity exercise and recovery to optimise workouts like circuit training so you can stay focused on your workout.
  • Smarter, easier all-day tracking: Advanced sensors make tracking your whole day effortless by automatically capturing all-day activity and sleep. SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition records everyday activities like walking, running, elliptical, and more with ease. Reminders to Move motivate you to stay active throughout the day.
  • Sleek, new design: The modular design and easy-to-read tap-sensitive display is four-times larger than Charge HR, letting you personalise a look that fits your style with interchangeable bands and clock faces – while keeping you connected with the smart notifications you need most.

“Ever since my days as a competitive athlete, staying healthy and fit has always been a top priority and I’ve built my life around those goals,” said Gabby Reece, athlete, model, mother, fitness leader and Fitbit ambassador.

“Fitbit Charge 2 is unique in that it gives me the tools and guidance for both. I not only have continuous visibility into my heart rate which gives me real insight into my overall health including workouts – but Fitbit built on that even further with access to my cardio fitness level. This new feature provides an estimate of my VO2 Max, which is something I only had access to in a lab during my pro days. But it’s Charge 2’s guided breathing sessions that really resonate with me as one of the most important things I do to improve my health and manage stress.”

Fitbit has enhanced its iconic and industry-defining tracker, Fitbit Flex, into an ultra-slim, swim-proof fitness wristband that can transform to fit your personal style with a variety of stylish new accessories. With smarter exercise features, Flex 2 effortlessly tracks your fitness and provides friendly motivation to help you stay active throughout your day.

Top features include:

  • Ultra-slim, minimalist design: Now 30% smaller, Flex 2 features a removable tracker and interchangeable slim, classic fitness bands in seven colours that are perfect for every day, hitting the gym or going for a swim.
  • Premium accessory options: Transform and customise Flex 2 in a variety of Fitbit-designed bracelets and pendants to best suit your style or activity. Choose from a range of luxe, premium mirror-finish bangles in silver stainless steel, and 22k-plated gold or rose gold stainless steel, or elegant lariat-style necklaces in silver stainless steel or 22k-plated gold stainless steel for an elevated look that fits seamlessly into your everyday life – from the office to a night out.
  • Swim-proof and automatic swim tracking: As Fitbit’s first swim-proof wristband, Flex 2 is water resistant up to 50 meters, whether you’re in the shower, pool or ocean, and automatically tracks your pool swims including laps, duration, and calories burned in the Fitbit App.
  • Effortless and automatic: Track your most important health and fitness stats, plus:
    • SmartTrack automatic exercise tracking recognises select workouts (walks, runs, rides, elliptical, sports, aerobic workouts, and now swims).
    • Reminders to Move help you stay active with friendly reminders to reach mini hourly step goals and reduce stationary time.
    • Personalised weekly exercise goals to help you embrace a consistent routine and stay motivated.
  • Smarter: A simple LED display uses colour-coded lights to show progress toward your daily goal, and keeps you connected with call and text notifications.

“Whether I’m working out, taking a class, rehearsing or running errands I want a device that is small, yet stylish, that I can match to whatever I’m wearing,” said Julianne Hough, dancer, singer, actress and Fitbit Ambassador. “Fitbit Flex 2 helps keep me motivated to hit my health and fitness goals and it’s even swim-proof, so I can truly get credit for everything I do in my day.”

Pricing and Availability

Charge 2 and Flex 2 will be available globally at major retailers in September and October, respectively. Pricing below is recommended retail pricing; pricing at retailers may vary.

  • Fitbit Charge 2 (R2,999.00) tracker with a classic fitness band in black, blue, plum or teal
    • Classic fitness accessory bands in four colours – sold separately
    • Luxe premium leather accessory bands in blush pink, brown, and indigo – sold separately
    • Special edition series in gunmetal and rose gold  – sold separately
  • Fitbit Flex 2 (R1,899.00) tracker with a classic fitness band in black, lavender, magenta or navy
    • Classic fitness accessory bands in seven on-trend shades of black, blush pink, grey, lavender, magenta, navy and yellow – sold separately
    • Bangle accessory in gold, rose gold and silver stainless steel – sold separately
    • Pendant accessory in gold and silver stainless steel – sold separately

Charge 2 and Flex 2 will be available in South Africa in selected colours at major retailers in September and October, respectively. Retail pricing and launch dates for accessory bands, special edition series and other accessories noted above from Fitbit will be confirmed at a later date.

Featured

Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android

Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone. 

In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.

While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms. 

The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company. 

The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware. 

Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution. 

That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed. 

This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.

From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.

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How to take on IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, whether you like it or not and organisations today will look to platforms and services that help them manage and analyse the streams of data coming from connected devices, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.

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Today, we are witnessing an explosion in IoT deployments and solutions and are moving towards a world where almost everything you can imagine will be connected. While this opens the door to many possibilities it also comes with its own challenges such as privacy and security.

The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life; it has been a free for all on a daily basis. IoT is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, nearly every business will be affected.

Managing vast quantities of data across increasingly mobile workforces can be tremendously beneficial if done well, but equally can be cumbersome and ineffective if not managed properly. This is why technologies such as mobile edge computing are becoming increasingly popular, helping to increase the prevalence of secure mobile working and data management in the age of IoT.

Unlocking IoT

The evolution of IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020, Bain anticipates a significant shift in uptake, with roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point to have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or extensive implementation. This means that technological innovation in IoT for the enterprise is progressing at a similarly fast rate with many of these solutions being developed with utilities, engineering, manufacturing and logistics companies in mind.

Processing at the edge

For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping firms with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source. Relevant data can then be sent to the cloud for observation and analysis, thereby reducing the waves of ‘data garbage’ which has to be processed by cloud services.

A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.

The work of wearables

The potential of IoT means it not only has the scope to change the way people work, but also where they work. While widespread mobile working is a relatively new trend in industries such as banking and professional services, for CIOs in sectors where working on the move is inherent – such as logistics and field maintenance – mobility is high on the agenda.

Wearables – and specifically smart glasses – have started to gain traction within the business world. With mobile edge computing solutions acting as the gateway, smart glasses such as Toshiba’s assisted reality AR 100 viewer solution have been designed to benefit frontline and field-based workers in industries such as utilities, manufacturing and logistics. In the renewable energy sector, for example, a wind turbine engineer conducting repairs may use assisted reality smart glasses to call up the schematics of the turbine to enable a hands-free view of service procedures. This means that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert and have additional information sent through, thereby saving time and money by eradicating the need for extra personnel to be sent to the site.

The time is ripe for organisations to look to exploit the age of IoT to improve the productivity and safety of their workers, as well as the end service delivered to customers. In fact, Toshiba’s recent ‘Maximising Mobility’ report found that 49 per cent of organisations believe their sector can benefit from the hands-free functionality of smart glasses, while 47 per cent expect them to deliver improved mobile working and 41 per cent foresee better collaboration and information sharing. Embracing IoT technologies such as mobile edge computing and wearable solutions will be an essential step for many organisations within these verticals as they look to stay on top of 21st century working challenges.

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