The Fitbit and Jawbone UP have received a lot of attention for helping people become more fit by understanding how they move throughout the day. Of course in addition to the app you need the device (generally more than $100) to pull it off. Now what if you could do the same thing with just an app…and for free? That’s what Moves for iPhone is trying to do.
Moves uses the accelerometer in the iPhone to track movement, going to sleep when stationary, waking up when you move. So, when you’re sitting at your desk, nothing. Walk to the corner for your coffee (with your iPhone in your pocket, of course), tracking.
According to the app’s maker, the idea is simple. You shouldn’t have to spend an extra $150 on another device (that you also have to keep charged and synced) to see how you can improve your health.
“The fact that you have to charge and carry one more device is quite a big behavior change for people in the first place,” he said. “We think this very casual, mainstream approach to physical activity tracking could work better.”
He added, “There are a lot of people who don’t get enough exercise. It’s not that they don’t want live in a more healthy way,” he said. “Many of them have grown up in a way where they don’t feel like exercise is part of their identity.”
Of course, since this is an app-based approach, you won’t get the benefits of sleep tracking or subtle “wake me up at the optimal time” alarms, however, if your goal is to just get moving more and be more active…
I just loaded the app now, so I haven’t even had a chance to see how well it tracks just moving around the house (much less anywhere else), but I’m certainly up for trying to be healthier. I’ll give this a go and check back in after the weekend.
One concern, both from the app designers and users, is if the app will drain your battery like crazy. According to TC’s Kim-Mai Cutler, there was no appreciable difference in battery life. Also, remember if the device isn’t physically with you it can’t record you movements. So if you’re swimming and your phone isn’t in a waterproof case strapped to you…no record.
Maybe that’s okay for a free app that could be a great start to a healthier lifestyle.