Wouldn't it be great if wearable gadgets all played nicely with each other? The Pebble watch and Misfit Wearables seem to be doing just that: a new partnership has put the Misfit Shine activity tracker's fitness ecosystem on Pebble's watch.
The Pebble watch and Pebble Steel are waterproof, run apps, and work with both iOS and Android, but they don't have a clear corner on the fitness market. That might change now that Misfit, the maker of the tiny, waterproof Shine, has released its own Pebble app for counting steps and tracking motion. It'll also work with an updated Misfit iOS app, arriving sometime soon.
The Pebble app is designed to look a lot like the graphic interface on the phone: a circular daily goal progress bar, and a step count with distance and estimated calories burned. According to Pebble's press release, Misfit will be applying not just its user interface but specialized algorithms to the Pebble fitness experience. It won't currently do sleep tracking, but that feature will be available in a later release. And, right now, the app won't run in the background: it'll require the app to be open in order to count steps.
It'll be interesting to see if other fitness device manufacturers follow suit on the Pebble (Fitbit and Jawbone, perhaps?) or if this just illustrates that the fitness ecosystem matters more than dedicated, isolated fitness-tracking hardware.
Most interesting is this quote from Pebble's press release: "This is the first milestone in an ongoing partnership and collaboration between Pebble and Misfit that aims to provide intuitive health and fitness tracking for all." Could this mean a future upgraded Pebble watch with improved fitness-tracking hardware, or is this just software? Right now, according to Pebble, the goal is to focus on expanding software functions.
There are already a number of Pebble fitness apps -- RunKeeper, Strava, Puma, and others -- but there aren't any that do reliable continuous tracking as well as it can be done a standard dedicated fitness band. Maybe Misfit's app will offer a little more of what the Pebble's been lacking. Or perhaps it's a strategically timed way to tell people, as we head towards Google I/O and the likely launch of more Android Wear watches, that the Pebble's still out there. As a Misfit Shine aficionado, I'm curious to try it out.