Fitness Trackers: Fitness Junkie Wearable or As Seen on TV Junk?

During the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, many millions of people have seen their bank accounts shrink and their waistlines grow. Isn’t it surprising how being stuck at home almost always results in eating more? You are probably now setting yourself some fitness goals and are looking at a cool new fitness tracker to help you shed the pounds and put the junk food behind you.

Speaking of junk, I cannot escape this nagging feeling that fitness trackers really are not very good! I know, that’s a controversial opinion considering how popular these little wearable devices are. In fact, I am still not sure of my thoughts because, like many people, I have become attached to my fitness tracker.

I have fallen into the trap of believing without my tracker, my whole exercise and diet regimen will fall apart. However, when I stop to think about it, I realize that’s nonsense. Trying to sort through my own confusion on fitness trackers, I have decided to take a close look to see if they are helpful or just pointless.

What Do Fitness Trackers Do?

As the name suggests, a fitness tracker will, well, track your fitness. Across a range of metrics, the wearable sits on your wrist and charts your exercise based on your customized goals. Trackers leverage GPS to understand distances you are walking, running, or swimming, and at what speeds. They can also track static workouts, such as yoga and weightlifting.

With the tracking data, the wearable passes the information to an accompanying smartphone application where you can see calorie counters, health data like heart rate and stress levels, and see maps of your workouts. Furthermore, a fitness tracker will usually allow you to monitor your sleep patterns.

So, Do They Really Do All That?

Those features sound amazing, and yes, fitness trackers do all those things… to varying degrees of success. Let’s take GPS, something that is lacking in most standard fitness trackers. This means to track your runs or walks; your fitness tracker needs to be tethered to your phone through Bluetooth so it can mooch off your handset’s GPS.

The good news is, when working through your phone to track workouts, fitness trackers are solid at accurately charting your distances, speed, and in many cases automatically knowing what activity you were doing.

Then there’s the sleep tracking, something that is so wildly inaccurate that when someone says they use this feature effectively, I think they must be lying.

Who Are Fitness Trackers For?

Tech companies would have you believe they are for everyone, but the reality is they may be for no-one. Think of it like this, if you are trying to shed a few pounds or get into shape before that party next month, what does tracking your fitness actually achieve? One of the most interesting things about fitness trackers is people start to believe the device is playing an active role in their fitness successes.

That’s just not true. You don’t need a fitness tracker to get fit… how did people 10 years ago manage?

Maybe there is an argument that fitness trackers are for the mega-fit, the athletes of the world. Again, that does not work because the general accuracy of cheap fitness trackers is not enough for athletes. These are people who need to monitor themselves on a granular level that fitness trackers cannot provide.

Could I Just Use My Phone?

Yes, you could. And that’s one of the reasons why fitness trackers are pointless. Everything your fitness tracker does, your phone will also do, including tracking workouts, sleep, weight loss, etc. When you consider you also need to connect a wearable to your phone, it seems the fitness tracker is adding an unnecessary link in the chain.

Smartwatch vs. Fitness Tracker

Smartwatch devices are different. Firstly, they do a lot more besides fitness tracking such as allow you to have quick access to your phone without needing to remove it from a pocket or bag. Secondly, many of the best smartwatches are available with GPS built-in. Yes, that means when you head out for a workout, you can leave your phone at home. Only a few fitness trackers have this ability.

Should I Avoid Buying A Fitness Tracker?

I want to lay it on the line… I think fitness trackers are pointless. At the same time, I can still understand why people buy them. There are two clear reasons I see that you could use for getting a fitness tracker:

  • They are affordable, mostly work, and sometimes it’s nice to have some cool tech.
  • For the under-motivated, having something tracking you and visible on your wrist could get you off the couch and into the gym.

Still, my advice would be to avoid fitness trackers. They are not junk, but they are also not worthwhile devices. If you like wearables and want to track your fitness, buy a smartwatch instead.

 

A Smartphone App To Detect Earthquakes

Want to know about the inception of destruction? Here’s your chance, with a smartphone app that detects earthquakes.

iShake is a free app designed to detect seismic activity. It utilizes the accelerometer that every smartphone has. This particular mechanism in your phone tells your display to respond when you tilt your phone to the side. The researchers experimented with an iPhone, they compared its accelerometer to an authentic earthquake sensor. It turned out that the iPhone could detect earthquakes at a magnitude of 5 or greater when near the epicenter. It’s expected that they will be able to detect smaller earthquakes sooner.

 

OK, I know what you’re thinking – why the heck would I need an app to tell me there’s an earthquake going on? I mean it’s an earthquake – you can feel it. Well, the idea is that if the app is installed in enough people’s phone emergency responders could get a clearer picture of the damage and the epicenter.  By collecting ground motion intensity parameters during the earthquake, an accurate portrayal of the damage effects of an earthquake can be provided.

 

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjYzR5I3pFI[/youtube]

 

Smartphone Screen Cracks — Not A Problem Any More

They say that the latest Gorilla Glass, which is used in the displays of mobile devices such as the Galaxy s4 and iPhone, is sufficiently strong and doesn’t break easily. So howis it that splintered phone screens are still such a common sight?  Rhino Sheild, a new clear coating applied over the existing screen of the device, will supposedly help end such heartbreak. It claims to be five times more smash-resistant than Gorilla Glass.

Rhino Shield is the creation of Cambridge University spin-off company Evolutive Labs. Using an impact-dispersing, highly transparent, scratch-resistant “custom-formulated polymer”, they created this super protective screen. It also features an oleophobic coating that repels fingerprints and other oils. This multi-layer sheet is 0.29 mm thick, and can be applied to a phone’s screen without creating air bubbles or leaving sticky adhesive behind. The device’s touch screen performance remains unaffected.

The Totally Customizable Do-It-Yourself Smartphone

As soon as a new smartphone comes out, the ‘piece of utter junk’ we’ve have bought 6 months back instantly becomes distasteful to us. Heck, we’re saying this all over again with the new iPhone that’s just been released. Mostlydue to frivolous reasons ( and some minor technology or software change) people love to stay updated and keep changing phones with the changing trend.

Now Dave Hakkens has come up with a design that can keep us all updated with the constantly changing technology fads without throwing out expensive and perfectly usable smart phones. So here’s your chance to play with Lego again on a different scale and upgrade your lifestyle: the Phonebloks is a modular, effortlessly upgradeable Smartphone that can survive technological advancements. A gadget that’s made up of high-tech Lego blocks, each with a different functionality. You can add your block according to your specific requirements and replace existing one in less than one minute, whether that’s a faster processor or a massive camera.

Will Phonebloks’ claim to endure for ever resonate with consumers? Probably not since people will buy it now but still move on to something new later. That’s the way our disposable culture works  Plus it will totally shatter the profit margins of the major players in the smartphone industry.

Navigo — The Smart Navigator Watch

With the release of Google Glass it’s pretty obvious that wearable tech-gadgets are in vogue. Now it seems like every tech company has stepped into this arena. One such smart wearable gadget is the wearable smartphone wristwatch.

Unlike other smart watches, ‘Navigo’ was designed to provide smart navigation cues right on your hand. The watch uses Bluetooth to connect to your Smartphone’s mapping and GPS system, helping you stay on track by pointing out the right direction. Tiny vibrations alert the user by signalling where to turn, also represented by LED arrows on the watch itself. When you reach your destination the vibration also acts as a proximity alert, announcing that you are about to reach your destination. And, just in case you actually want to know the time, this device also functions as a regular watch. Currently the watch is in concept phase, but we love this idea and can’t wait to check it out when it hits production. Pics below:

Facebook Home Launcher Comes Along With Good & Bad News!

By now most of you would have already known about Facebook’s upcoming first phone, known as “HTC First”. But now you can enjoy the same Facebook home launcher on you android smart phones and tablets as well. Yesterday, Facebook launched their new Facebook home launcher app where you directly get you Facebook updates on the home screen. So now you don’t have to toggle the FB app to check your news feeds.

Though its quite a good news for social network addicts but it comes with some serious shortcomings as well. A major disadvantage of this launcher is that you will lose your Android notifications in favor of FB ones.  Moreover your Facebook launcher won’t be good with you Android OS since it won’t allow you to run Calls/SMS, email, Google play and many more things. So if you want to interact with your phone like before, you will have to close the launcher.

However, the Facebook launcher along with the notifications and other apps running simultaneously will just be available on HTC First. Check the app out on Google Play and tell us how you experience!

HTC First – The New Facebook’s Smartphone

So after the years of hype created by facebook users, its now coming to reality. Thats right! Facebook has officially announced the new Facebook’s smart phone. FB teamed up with HTC to introduce the new Facebook phone, which will be called the “HTC FIRST”. Thanks to the new Built-in facebook launcher, now you don’t have to go to the Facebook app to check your news feeds as they will be coming right on your home screen. So in short when you turn on your phone’s screen, you will start getting your favourite news feeds on the screen, and may be thats the reason people love calling it Facebook phone. According to the videos published by FB and HTC, the interface of this smart-phone looks quite appealing and FB lovers would love to stay connected to their Facebook with it.

The phone will be running on Android 4.1 Jellybean powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. The screen will be 4.3 inches. Check out the video below to give yourself an idea!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Lep_DSmSRwE[/youtube]

Check Your Food From Bacteria!

Engineers from UCLA have came up with a creation of prototype scanner that attaches to your smartphone camera and helps you diagnose the food you are eating. Now this sounds good because the big ham burger making you feel hungry now actually can be identified with harmful bacteria! The point of creation was the rising case of E. coli which is the cause of food poisoning. The rising graphs of people suffering from food poisoning every month gained inventors attention to build a device which attaches your phone and can detect the food poisoning by using the camera and flash technology.

This device would for sure win the public health and it will be a alarming alert for the restaurants and fast foods that they might get a little more conscious about their food.

We are still not sure when this device would get to the public use and when what are the results produced by this device by now. So we wait and hope that some thing good brings out by these fellows

iPhone Can Now Tell What Other People Are Typing

iPhone has been turned into a spy phone by the researchers at Georgia Tech’s School of Computer Science.

iPhone does this by a technique that detects the keystroke patterns involving the sequence of punches, and differing distances between the keys. The most amazing fact about this is the up to 80% accuracy of finding what people are typing.

The Georgia Tech computer researchers made this happen with the built-in accelerometers that determine the angle the device is held at in relation to the level of Earth. Although the accelerometer in iPhone 3GS was good at accurately determining the placement of keys being typed, the improved accelerometer that came with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S made it even more reliable. Today, as per the researchers, most of the smartphones include this improvement.

iPhone Owners Play Games 14.7 Hours Per Month

As per a new Nielsen study, iPhone owners are leading the gaming pack, setting new standards for mobile game playing.

While an average mobile gamer plays for 7.8 hours a month on average, iPhone owners almost double that number, playing iOS games an average of 14.7 hours a month. If that sounds impressive, remember that a hardcore console gamer will play games for about 13-14 hours each week. Still, it is clear that smartphone gaming has gotten of age. Even Android with its rather paltry selection of games now averages 9.3 hours of play per month. Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and non-smartphones presently lag behind, averaging about 4.5 hours of play per month.

Perhaps the most significant statistics Nielsen gives are the percentages of new game downloads. As it can be seen above, Feature phone (non-smartphones) and BlackBerry users play mostly whatever games are preloaded on their phone. However, newer, more app-friendly platforms like iPhone, WP7, and Android have totally reversed this trend. The majority of gamers on these platforms are going out and discovering, then downloading games on their own. This is a very positive sign for the future of gaming on these platforms. It demonstrates that their user base is far more engaged and eager to try new things.