Activity logging bracelets or bands are fast becoming ubiquitous as a relatively high tech way to monitor our activity levels and so encourage us, in various ways, to keep active. At their most basic level, these activity tracking devices can synchronize their data to your computer or smartphone as a daily encouragement. The more sophisticated trackers feature more intense synchronization with your chosen smartphone and will notify you when it's time to move around, or if you are sleeping, will monitor your sleeping pattern and gently wake you up with a vibrate function on the wrist. The associated software can include algorithms to calculate body mass index, distance traveled, calories burnt and consumed, depending on the information fed into the application. Google are also getting in on the act with Google Fit, an application that has only just been launched.
Huawei have announced a new fitness tracker to go on sale in America from the 14 November, priced at $130 and available with a range of different colored straps including yellow, blue, pink and black. However, as you might expect from the name the TalkBand includes the ability to handle voice calls together with the usual expected activity logging functions, which include steps, distance, activities undertaken and sleeping information, including a smart alarm and nap mode. The device includes Bluetooth 4.1 and NFC for wireless synchronization. It includes a 1.4-inch OLED display used to show the wearer notifications although it also comes with a vibration alert, too. It's IP57 certified for dust and water ingress (it's safe to immerse in water up to one metre for thirty minutes).
The TalkBand has a 90 mAh battery, which is enough for seven hours of talking, six days of use with the Bluetooth radio on or sixteen with it disabled and the device in standby. Huawei state that the TalkBand will recharge in two hours via USB, which is cleverly built into the strap. The device can handle calling from any Android device running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or later and the unit includes dual microphones with active noise cancellation.
So far, so good. Huawei haven't shown us much of the software that the TalkBand will use and there's no sign of it connecting up with Google Fit either. The unit itself looks completely inoffensive and sits between a conventional activity band and a smartwatch. Battery life looks good and I especially like the built-in USB cable (as invariably when my Fitbit Flex needs charge, I'm nowhere near my charger but I'm rarely beyond a few feet from a USB socket!). I'm not sure that the Huawei offers enough to distinguish itself from the already quite crowded activity band shelf, nor that it particularly needs to.