Microsoft has been surprisingly generous when it comes to apps for Android, a platform it's technically still competing against. (Sort of.) Today the company launched an entire suite of Android apps to support its MSN/Bing web platform. All six of them tie directly into existing services: MSN Food & Drink, MSN Health & Fitness, MSN Money, MSN News, MSN Sports, and MSN Weather. They're all free to download in the Play Store right now.
The new apps are basically re-skinned versions of the mobile websites they connect to, but the structure is a little more usable than a straight-up web wrapper, something that's depressingly common in the Play Store. Read More
The tech giants are all pushing out fitness platforms of their own these days. Apple has HealthKit, Google recently flipped the on switch for Fit, and now Microsoft is bringing us Health.
Microsoft Health can track your steps, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep quality. If this sounds similar to Fitbit, there's a reason for this. The folks at Redmond are introducing an activity tracker of their own called the Microsoft Band.
This plastic bracelet has an LCD screen and does the things you've come to expect, such as displaying email, text messages, and incoming calls. It can also work with the Microsoft Health app to map out your trips whenever you go for a run, similar to Runtastic or Runkeeper. Read More
Google Fit is something Google has been working diligently on since before its announcement at Google I/O. The service itself doesn't seem to be very well-rounded yet, but with a preview SDK available to developers for a few months and an app in the works, it seems like things are headed in the right direction.
We've seen only glimpses of the Fit app so far from leaked product reviews and comparison videos, but now that the whole app has been made available in a leaked Nexus 6 dump that's floating around (we're not going to distribute test-keys signed APKs), we can finally take a quick look at the app itself. Read More
Active folks who fire up the latest version of the Fitbit app will see a new section tucked away in the sidebar: Challenges. Contained within is a way to take the fitness-minded company's Android experience and make it more social. Users now have the ability to challenge up to 10 people and compete with them in any of three contests.
Fitbit wearers can compete to see who can complete the most steps in a single day, over the weekend, or throughout an entire work week. Invitees have up to twenty-four hours to accept a challenge, and if they jump in after a competition starts, Fitbit will still count their data for the full length of time. Read More
The new Google Fit Platform is a set of cross-platform APIs that developers can use to provide consumers with the means to better keep track of their fitness goals. The product intends to blend together data from multiple sources, so users can get a better overall picture of their performance and health. It empowers apps by providing them with access to a user's entire stream of fitness activity, letting software tap into data that it didn't capture itself and provide better recommendations.
Traditionally companies such as Fitbit and Runtastic design their own hardware and allow owners to monitor the stats they gather, but this requires purchasing and regularly using only that company's products. Read More
According to a new exclusive from Forbes, Google is working on preparing a service called Google Fit. Forbes says the service will aggregate and manage health and fitness data collected from sources like wearables and fitness trackers, and it will offer new APIs to developers for integration with the service.
According to Forbes, it's unclear whether Google's HealthKit competitor will debut with the next version of Android, but evidently the company is set to unveil the service, along with new partnerships with wearable manufacturers, at this year's I/O conference (which for those keeping count is just under two weeks away).
The post cites Google Health, a previous attempt at delivering personal health data, as an example of how tough it is to navigate the space of fitness tracking while giving users valuable and meaningful information based on their data. Read More
When we first took a look at Zombies, Run! a few days ago, I said that, while the concept is great, I hoped it would be $8 worth of amazing. Not to spoil the ending to this story right away, but the short version is: probably. This app could easily be worth $8 to many users. But not for the reasons you might think. And, before you start reaching for your wallet, you need to answer one very important question: are you willing to commit to a workout routine?
Game Of Moans
To call Zombies, Run! a "game" is, perhaps, a bit disingenuous. Read More
Getting fit is a chore. Keeping track of what you eat, how much you exercise, counting calories gained and lost, I t can all get a bit overwhelming. The Fitbit accessory is designed to make the process easier by keeping track of how many calories you've burned while walking, working out, etc. during the day and logging on to the site to add in your calorie intake at night. Now, the Android app streamlines both of these processes.
It can be difficult to keep track of a diet when you have to wait til you get home to input data, and the current Fitbit accessory, priced at $99.95, is a steep price to pay for functions that your phone can do nearly as well. Read More