Designed for kids ages 8 and older, Ace motivates with customisable step, active minute and sleep goals, celebratory messages and badges, and challenges for the family. It comes with an adjustable, showerproof wristband available in two colours and up to 5 days battery life. With Ace, parents can manage who their children connect with and what information they see in the Fitbit app that will motivate them most.
With childhood obesity rates continuing to rise and two in three kids inactive every day, parents are looking for ways to encourage a more healthy, active lifestyle. According to a Fitbit study, parents cite screen time as an ongoing challenge in getting their kids to be active (58%). Seventy-five percent of parents said they are interested in the use of fitness trackers to help them keep their kids active.
“Fitbit Ace opens up a direct line of communication across the family to help parents and their children understand how physical activity impacts overall wellbeing and health,” says Dr Ryan Rhodes, exercise psychologist, Director of the Behavioural Medicine Lab (BMED) at the University of Victoria, and member of the Fitbit Advisory Panel. “When parents have insight into their kids’ activity, they are better positioned to then promote less screen-time and more physical activity in a fun and motivating way.”
When designing Fitbit Ace and the Fitbit family account, Fitbit considered privacy throughout the user experience for both parents and kids and built in safeguards and controls to help ensure a safe and positive experience. Parental consent is required to create an account for kids, and Fitbit’s family account allows parents to approve who their children connect with, and view activity and progress. Parents can help manage what stats their kid sees in the app to only include what motivates them most. Kids have access to appropriate stats for their age, including steps, active minutes and sleep; it won’t highlight calorie intake, weight and body fat/BMI, or public social features.
Fitbit provided the following information on the Ace:
● Tracks their activity and sleep: Helps develop healthy habits by tracking steps, active minutes and sleep; goals default to international health guidelines for activity (60 minutes) and sleep (9 hours).
● Reminds them to move: Reduces sedentary time with personalised reminders to move each hour.
● Motivates and rewards them for moving: Encourages kids to build healthy habits with daily or weekend challenges and collectible badge rewards. Kids (and parents) can see their stats, badges earned, progress toward their goals, and more in the Fitbit app.
● Family account: Brings families together and keeps everyone engaged with added motivation and accountability; parents can view their kid’s activity, and manage what stats they see in the app.
● More information about Fitbit Ace can be found at www.fitbit.com/eu/ace
Pricing and availability
Fitbit Ace will be available from this week-end in select retailers nationwide. The device is also available for sale at https://www.fitbit.co.za/retailers/ for R1 599 in power purple and electric blue.
Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart
Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.
As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page
KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching.
The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter.
The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style.
The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button.
The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on.
In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode.
Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.
Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.
Find them on Kickstarter here.
Taxify enters Google Maps
A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.
People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.
Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.
Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.
If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.
This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.
“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.
Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.