Jawbone is trying to diversify its device range by offering similarly designed devices with a few additional or removed features, looking to gauge what customers may want from a fitness tracker and what features don’t hold a lot of weight when picking up a smartband.
The UP2 and UP4 are the latest in the series, coming alongside the heavily delayed UP3. The UP2 will feature a 45 per cent thinner design and will also be significantly lighter, but Jawbone appears to be dropping some of the battery and sensors for a cheaper price.
The UP4 will retain all of the sensors on the UP3, which includes a heart-rate monitor, alongside a new contactless payment NFC chip. It will work with American Express credit cards in the US, meaning we will not see it in the UK until Jawbone finds a partner.
Both of these new devices do not bring a whole lot to the table in terms of innovation, but Jawbone’s lack of revenue comes from its small range of devices. In 2013, it had one fitness device, but expanded in late 2013 to three with the launch of the UP Move and UP24.
The UP2 and UP4 are even more conservative efforts to offer a similar design with one or two feature changes. It allows a sort-of customisation and the ability to choose preferences while not spending too much for a payment feature or heart-rate sensor.
Jawbone recently was rumored to be looking for venture capital, in order to fund new investments in fitness and health. The company was looking for a $3 billion (£2 billion) valuation and Google was reportedly one of the major investors looking into the company.
That sparked reports that Jawbone was planning a Google Fit or Android Wear device, although nothing has come from this yet. Perhaps in the near future we will see Jawbone branch out into Android Wear, to try and take on the Apple Watch’s fitness features.