Jawbone Exec: Here's Why It's Better To Buy A Fitness Tracker Without A Screen




The Jawbone UP

Jawbone's UP bracelets are different from other fitness trackers.


Unlike the Fitbit Flex and Nike FuelBand, Jawbone's UP bands don't have small screens on them, which means you can't glance down and look at how many calories you've burned, check the time, or see if you've missed any calls.

But, according to one Jawbone executive, that's part of what makes the Jawbone platform work so well.

Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone, explained that it's really the advice and feedback you get from a fitness app that matters, not just the sheer number of calories burned or steps taken.

"Although we like to distill everything down to a single number, it's more complicated than that," Bogard said in an interview with Business Insider. "So the ability to get things like insights ends up becoming really important to actually driving behavioral change."


The information you can get from a larger screen like the one on your smartphone is more valuable than the small bits of data you can glean by looking down at your watch, Bogard explained.

If a person already sees their progress by looking down at their fitness tracker, he or she may not be motivated to open the full app and view that deeper information and feedback.

"People get bored of the data after a while," Bogard said. "They know how many steps they take. That's because people [competitors] aren't focused on the 'so what.'"

The "so what" that Bogard refers to is the actual interpretation of the data obtained by these fitness trackers, not just the presentation of it.

Jawbone's most recent 3.2 update for its UP app places a much larger emphasis on this "so what" aspect. For example, rather than just being able to log your food more easily to keep track of your diet, the app's Common Pairings feature also suggests sides for you to make the process quicker.


Its revamped Insights engine, which provide daily tips, now cater those bits of advice based on your lifestyle and the information you log.

"It starts to help people really make sense of their day," Bogard said. "I think that ultimately becomes the differentiator."