Jawbone Unveils UP4, Continues To Blur Line Between Smartphones and Trackers


The world of fitness trackers has fallen under increased pressure recently as consumer electronics manufacturers move into the space and begin competing for the wrists of electronics-loving consumers. The result has been a slow but predictable blurring of the lines between the classic definition of a fitness tracker, and the new, more all purpose smartwatches that are beginning to trickle into the market.

Some fitness tracker manufactures have doubled down on developing advanced sensors capable of tracking a broader array of fitness metrics in order to maintain their core customer base, which tends to be fitness enthusiasts. Others, notably Jawbone, have taken the opposite approach by transforming their own line of fitness trackers into something that offers more than the traditional tracker in an effort to maintain the status quo with the introduction of the increased smartwatch competition.

Last month, Jawbone announced that it would partner with watch manufacturer Huawei to provide fitness tracker software for a new smartwatch from Huawei that looks like a traditional watch, runs on an Android operating system, and captures the same advanced metrics one would expect out of a Jawbone tracker.

Now, Jawbone has introduced its own boundary-breaking fitness tracker to the market, the UP4. The tracker looks just like the UP3 and packs nearly the same power from a health data metrics standpoint, but differentiates itself from the rest of the pack by offering NFC-based secure payment processing. Jawbone partnered with American Express to power the new payment feature. Users just place their tracker near the NFC receiver at any participating store and press a button on the device to process the payment.

UP4 will be the first fitness tracker to incorporate the feature, which has thus far been something only smartwatches have offered. By broadening the scope of its tracker’s functionality, Jawbone is retaining the aesthetics of its UP product line, but incorporating one of the most well received features of the emerging smartwatch market.

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