Look, I know what you’re thinking, and I’ve been thinking the same thing too. Under Armour, however, is going for something a bit different with the Armour39 performance monitor it teased earlier. Really, it lies in how the company has approached the product.
The key differentiator being that it’s a “performance” monitor, not an “activity monitor” like Nike’s FuelBand, the Fitbit or even the Basis Band. It doesn’t care what you do at work or on your walk to the mailbox. Armour39 wants to show you how intense you are about your workouts and nothing else.
The core piece of technology in the 39 ecosystem is the chest strap, which measures your heart rate and then calculates caloric burn and level of intensity during a work out session. An app and watch are also apart of the Armour39 ecosystem. The chest strap is a must and will work with either of the above.
One of the unique things to A39 is an actual on-boarding process that measures your maximum heart rate, recovery rate and ventricular threshold before Under Armour starts crunching the numbers. All this is done when you’re setting up the chest strap with the app. You can opt out of the assessment and you’ll be defaulted to a profile based on your age and sex. It also rests and measures from your core: your heart. So it’s not trying to do some of the extraneous bullshit you see in activity monitors that are worn on the wrist. This, for example.
Like Nike’s Fuel, Under Armour has a proprietary score that it measures called WILLpower. But that’s really where the comparison stops. WILLpower ranges from 0.0 to 10.0 and is based on an algorithm that combines certain heart rate measurements, your user profile (sex, age, weight, etc), body positioning and workout duration. You then pick a number and work towards it and can keep track in real-time with the accompanying iOS app. On the app itself, you’ll see average heart rate, average intensity, duration and calories burned, in addition to your current WILLpower score. Two additional screens go a bit deeper into your heart rate and intensity for post-workout analysis. Or you can send it to your trainer/coach.
Any and all data is then transmitted via Bluetooth (4.0) to and then synced to the cloud. Android is being worked, says Mark Oleson, Director of Innovation and Research at Under Armour. Believe me, he was adamant that they’re not looking to ostracise anyone for their choice in smartphone platform and to be “device agnostic”. But he wouldn’t give a timeline.
Oleson says this is just the baseline of what’s to come. A foundation, if you will. The company also teased other wearable technical clothing that could one day allow you to change the temperature with the swipe of a virtual keypad on your sleeve.
The Armour39 kit has a March launch date and pre-orders start this weekend. The Armour39 module and strap goes for $US149.99, while the Armour39 watch will retail for $US199.99. [Under Armour]