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Fitbit debuts the Alta

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Fitbit has introduced the Fitbit Alta – a slim fitness wristband that can be personalised, while advanced health and fitness features improve tracking workouts and deliver positive motivation to keep users moving. 

Fitbit Alta is designed with a satin finish, stainless steel body and features a line of stylish interchangeable bands in multiple popular colours and premium materials. In addition to automatically tracking all-day activity, exercise and sleep, it’s equipped with Reminders to Move, nudging users to stay active throughout the day for better health, while providing visual feedback on progress and keeping users connected with smart notifications on a slender display.

The Alta seems to make up for the lack of elegance in the FIbit Blaze smartwatch, which was announced in January to a chorus of disapproval.

Fitbit Alta will be available in South Africa from April 2016, joining the Blaze in the local market.

“Fitbit Alta will turn heads as our most fashionable device yet. The attractive, versatile design of this new fitness tracker fits seamlessly into daily life – from the gym to the office to a night out,” said James Park, CEO and Co-Founder of Fitbit. “Alta features the everyday tracking Fitbit is known for, along with innovative and purpose-built features that push users to do more. Paired with our large, engaged global social community, Alta is an exciting product for everyday users who are looking for a simple way to stay motivated and connected, that also fits with their personal style.”

Fitbit provided the following information:

Fitbit Alta delivers all the most important activity stats you expect from Fitbit right on your wrist, along with new features deliberately designed to make health and fitness tracking easier and more motivating:

  • Reminders to Move help you stay active and reduce stationary time. Research shows that your metabolism can slow down after prolonged sitting and sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Moving for a few minutes every hour can help you keep your metabolism up and help reduce the negative impacts of sitting. Using short, positive prompts, Fitbit Alta will encourage you to meet a mini-step goal of 250 steps each hour (approximately 2-3 minutes of walking), and will congratulate you when you achieve the goal. These prompts can be personalised to your schedule and can easily be put on “Do Not Disturb” during long meetings or appointments, ensuring that you only get reminders when wanted.
  • SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition provides a smarter, easier way to track workouts and see how exercise fits into your daily activity, giving you credit toward your weekly goals. It automatically recognises and records continuous movement activities including walking, running, outdoor biking, elliptical, as well as general categories of aerobic workouts (such as dance classes and cardio-kickboxing) and sports (including basketball, soccer and tennis).
  • Weekly exercise goals in the Fitbit app encourage you to find and embrace a more consistent fitness routine that works for you. These goals are tracked and displayed in the app on a daily basis, with a weekly goal for the number of days you plan to exercise to help keep you accountable. Weekly goals can easily be personalised to your fitness routine, allowing you to choose your target number of exercise days and the SmartTrack activities you want to count toward your goals.
  • All-day activity and automatic sleep tracking give you the foundational real-time health and fitness stats you need to track your progress, stay motivated and keep informed to reach your goals. View your step count, distance, calories burned, active minutes and the time on the easy-to-read OLED tap display, and use the Fitbit app to learn how long and how well you’re sleeping, plus set silent, vibrating alarms.

Versatile to Fit Your Style

Fitbit Alta lets you easily customise the slim, distinctive tracker to fit your personal style and create the perfect accessory for every occasion – day or night:

  • Sleek, modular design features a satin finish, stainless steel tracker with a custom, quick-release feature that allows you to wear Fitbit Alta as your favourite accessory at work and then swap your band instantly for a workout-friendly wristband. Available at launch in silver stainless steel, the tracker will also soon be available in a stunning, shiny gold stainless steel.
  • Stylish interchangeable accessory bands designed with attractive, premium materials including classic fitness wristbands, soft, premium hide leather bracelets with a beautiful natural grain, and a luxurious, hand-polished silver bangle – engineered to ensure all-day comfort, giving you the freedom to find the look that feels like you.
  • Easy-to-read, vibrant OLED tap display shows your activity stats and the time, which can be personalised using a variety of portrait or landscape clock face options. The tap display gives you quick and easy access to your all day stats and notifications.

“Whether I’m working or playing, my lifestyle keeps me in constant motion. Fitbit Alta helps me fit fitness into my busy life and looks great no matter what I’m doing, with swappable bands that let me match my style,” said Julianne Hough, dancer, singer, actress and Fitbit Ambassador. “Staying active is at the core of my lifestyle and having a fitness tracker helps keep me motivated and mindful of my health.”

Stay Connected to Maximise Your Day 

Fitbit Alta was designed to allow you to live your daily life without distraction, giving you the tools and motivation you need to take action and make the most of every day.

  • Stay connected with the smart notifications you need. Using Bluetooth® Smart connectivity, Fitbit Alta delivers call, text and calendar notifications right on your wrist when your phone is nearby through on-screen messages and a gentle vibrating alert.
  • Long battery life of up to 5 days[4] on a single charge lets you live your life, track your activity all day and your sleep all night, with the assurance you won’t lose a step.
  • Compatible with more than 200 Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices and computers so you can access your stats and motivational interactive tools to set goals, see your progress, and cheer or challenge friends, family and co-workers.

Pricing & Availability

Fitbit Alta will be available in South Africa from April 2016. At launch, Alta will be available in a black, blue, teal or plum high-performance fitness band with a satin finish, silver stainless steel tracker; shiny gold stainless steel tracker option coming soon. The following accessories will also be available at launch:

  • Classic fitness bands available in black, blue, teal and plum
  • Luxe soft, premium hide leather bands available in graphite and blush pink; camel coming soon
  • Luxe hand-polished stainless steel silver bangle coming this summer and shiny gold bangle coming later this year

Featured

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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