Fitbit for iOS has a new update rolling out that finally brings one of the most requested features of female users of the fitness tracking app and devices. With the new update, women can opt-in to a new Female Health Tracking which will allow women to track their monthly menstrual cycle to better understand their bodies and their cycles, something that is unique to every women.
Fitbit announced the new feature last month and it is rolling out to iOS users today while it should hit Android users later this month. Once you have the app update and have identified yourself as a female in the app, you should get a pop-up to opt into the new feature. It is only available for women 13 years and older.
There was an exciting new announcement today from Google Cloud Platform and Fitbit. The fitness wearable company is not only moving to GCP as their preferred cloud platform provider, but they will also be taking advantage of the Google Cloud Healthcare API.
The Cloud Healthcare API… “provide an interoperability solution that enables their users to collaborate on care with their own healthcare providers.” This could be a big deal as there have been some 76 million Fitbit devices sold and some 25 million active users.
Fitbit has begun rolling out an update to their app for Android and while it provides a few nice updates, the big news is the preview of the new dashboard in the app. The preview is not enabled by default but there is a banner that will walk you through what’s new in the dashboard and will enable it for you. It is awesome. The new dashboard is a far cleaner design with a white background and dials to indicate your activities, steps and other wellness information. If you are use to the dashboard on the Fitbit website, this is going to look very familiar to you and has the same ability to move things around on the dashboard, just like the website.
Fitbit has rolled out a pretty nice albeit minor update to their Android app this week. The update, version 2.37 for those keeping score at home, has some improved charts and graphs for body mass and weight history. While most people tend to think of Fitbit as an activity tracker – which they do well – their app is actually fairly comprehensive when it comes to tracking things like your diet, weight, water consumption and, of course, exercise. This update mainly focuses on providing you a bit more information around your weight and body composition.
First, there is an updated body lean mass versus fat mass graph. With this you can better visualize your body composition based on the inputs that your provide to the app for your weight and fat mass measurements. This information, if you have the Aria scale, can be automatically synced to the app so you can see your lean mass versus fat mass in the app.
I’ll be honest: I have an on again/off again relationship with Fitbit. I’ve been using their trackers for 6 years now and while my first tracker (the Ultra) was rock solid, the two subsequent models (the One and the Flex) have been less than stellar. I found neither of these tracked exceptionally well and with the One in particular, I was constantly fighting to keep it connected to my Nexus 6 or 6P as the Bluetooth was just not reliable.
Initially, in an effort to find a tracking alternative, I started using Google Fit and my Moto 360 smartwatch to track my activities. It was, shall we say, painful. Syncing was not accurate nor were step and exercise tracking. While Fit has grown up a lot, it still has some growing up to do. That experiment lasted about three weeks and that was all I could really handle.
Finally I had enough and I decided to step way out of the bounds of what most people consider for a fitness tracker. I picked up an Microsoft Band 2 and I have to say, it is a solid performing device that is very accurate in tracking your fitness information. In fact, after two weeks of using it, my Fitbit One is now quietly sitting connected to its charging cable on my desk – untouched and likely not being touched for a while. I’ve deleted the app from my 6P and moved to Microsoft Health for my exercise and step tracking.
To be sure, the Microsoft Band 2 is not perfect. It has some things that need improvements, most notably how it tracks stairs and the overall weight of the device. That said, I’m comfortable in recommending it. It integrates nicely with Android thanks to the Microsoft Health app (and there is one for Windows 10 users too). It ties in with other services and apps like Lose It!, MFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Strava, and it has a battery life of a couple of days. That’s better than most smartwatches today which, in a limited way, the Band 2 can perform for you.
Here is my review of the Band 2 and the companion Microsoft Health app.