Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Sleep-Sensor Maker Lark Takes on Nike+ FuelBand With Larklife

Lark, maker of a sleep-sensor wristband that silently vibrates to cause minimal annoyance to bedroom partners, is turning its attention to your waking hours.

Today, the Mountain View, Calif.-based start-up unveiled a pair of activity-tracking wristbands — one for day and one for night — that work in conjunction with a free iPhone app.

The daytime band measures the steps you’ve taken, the total distance you’ve traveled, and the calories you’ve burned. The nighttime band works a lot like the original Lark sleep tracker, recording and analyzing sleep patterns and using the same vibration technology to wake the wearer.

Unlike some devices that require manual syncing or a physical connection to a phone or laptop to transfer data, Lark says the new Larklife bands use “low-energy” Bluetooth 4.0 to constantly sync with your iPhone in the background. The app will analyze the data and send positive “push” notifications throughout the day, which the company sees as a more effective motivation tool than setting a daily exertion level users are supposed to reach (as the Nike+ FuelBand does).

The company expects the new product to be available for the holiday season. It will cost $150 — right in line with the Nike+ FuelBand, but more expensive than the recently announced FitBit One and the troubled Jawbone Up band.

It’s important to note that these products are still a niche thing, even with a big brand like Nike having thrown its weight behind activity tracking. In a report for AllThingsD earlier this year, Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps says while “hardware advances in battery life and the way sensors interact with each other will get us further than we are today,” it’s really the software platforms that “hold the key to consumer adoption” for wearable technology.

Basically, what will set these devices apart from each other isn’t necessarily which one is the fancier wristband with the better tri-axis accelerometer, but the way it interacts with software, and the kind of data and motivation that software provides to the consumer.


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