Fitbit CEO: Smartwatches ‘lack a purpose’ right now

Fitbitsurge1
Fitbit recently introduced three new fitness wristband trackers — one of which the company is calling a “superwatch” for the ability to get smart notifications like incoming calls and text messages on its screen.But let’s not be mistaken: The Fitbit Surge is not a smartwatch, even though some are calling it that. True to Fitbit’s core of being a fitness tracker before anything else, the Surge will monitor steps taken, calories burned, continuous heart rate and more. And yes, it can display incoming calls and texts, too — but unlike smartwatches, you aren’t able to respond, check emails or watch videos.

SEE ALSO: The Apple Watch Is Poised to Wipe Out Fitness Trackers

The product — intended for more serious athletes, not necessarily casual health enthusiasts — is priced at $249 and will launch in early 2015, around the time we’re expecting to see the Apple Watch debut.

Fitbit Surge

The Fitbit Surge “superwatch”
 

IMAGE: MASHABLE, LUKE LEONARD

While Fitbit is stepping into “smarter” territories, co-founder and CEO James Park told Mashable the company doesn’t have any plans to launch a fully functional smartwatch of its own — at least not one that would compete with the likes of Samsung, Motorola and Apple.

The reason? He’s not sold on them.

“We still think that the smartwatch in general lacks a purpose in life and that is what is holding consumers back a little with adoption,” Park said.“We still think that the smartwatch in general lacks a purpose in life and that is what is holding consumers back a little with adoption,” Park said. “We think something like the Fitbit Surge that is focused on fitness with the top features of a smartwatch, like caller ID, is the best blending of both worlds.”This is a bold statement for a CEO who’s working in an evolving industry. Many experts believe the Apple Watch is poised to wipe out fitness trackers. Just like e-readers were, for the most part, replaced by the iPad and other tablets that could do the same thing, everything you might find embedded within a wristband fitness tracker will ultimately be possible with the Apple Watch. But smartwatches do even more: they typically let you check email, answer calls and even watch videos directly from the device.

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Monster Strike

Monster Strike featured

What is Monster Strike?

Monster Strike is a game where you must slingshot your monsters into other monsters to destroy them. You can also collect new monsters, power ups, etc to help you along your way. It’s free in the Google Play Store with in app purchases.

Here’s how the game works. You enter a battle with four monsters. When it’s your turn, you fling your monsters at the other monsters to cause damage. The fun part is that most monsters have a pinball effect where they bounce around and damage multiple bad guys while some just go straight through. Monsters and bosses that are defeated drop money, power ups, and monster eggs which hatch into new monsters.

The game is pretty straightforward. You can play alone or with friends who control the other three monsters on your side that aren’t your own. The graphics are bright and colorful and the monsters have that cutesy feel that many people like so much. Like most collection games, the in app purchases revolve around letting you pay for things that you don’t feel like waiting for. There are Google Play Games services if you use those.

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How to Fail Your Way to the Top

As a company grows, often it becomes more averse to risk and failure. Mature companies are almost desperate for “tried and true” proven techniques to implement. The goal of fast growth companies should be to learn from (and not to repeat) failures rather than “not to fail”.

A company that cultivates a culture where it is okay to fail has a distinct competitive advantage, because we learn so much more from our failures than we ever do from our successes. When we succeed we often apply 20-20 hindsight to rationalize our decisions and reasons for our success. As the saying goes, “Success has many parents, but failure is an orphan.” That is, many people will jump at the chance to take credit for success, but very few will accept responsibility for failure when it happens. That group-think dynamic is what holds many companies back.

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How Burning Bridges Can Lead to Success

What’s the backup plan?

When I left Google in June 2012, I didn’t have one. I only knew one thing: It was my destiny to become an entrepreneur and the time had come. It’s quite a frightening exhilaration. Those already entrepreneurs probably remember the raw emotions that stirred inside the day it became official.

Focus on a single outcome.

In 1519, Hernán Cortés, a Spanish conquistador, famously ordered burning the boats as his troops prepared for the impossible conquest of the Aztec Empire. Well, this is false. He scuttled (sunk) the ships to prevent a mutiny. It’s a vivid story and an apt analogy for preparing to take on the difficulties of the startup world.

As actor Will Smith explained in an inspiring interview, having a Plan B only distracts from pursuing Plan A.

In my case, I “burned the boats” by creating a mission and brand around my top value: a freedom lifestyle. Many would say this is foolish, which is OK because I’m not speaking to them.

Any entrepreneur, solopreneur or wantrepreneur may feel a similar drive in life. Having a mission and leveraging it is critical.

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Google Fit App Now Available For Android Devices

Google has released its Fit app, which acts as a central storehouse for activity recorded via your Android device, and via apps that use the Google Fit SDK introduced at the I/O developer conference back in June. The dedicated Android app is pretty spare, but it provides a way for users to see an overview of their collected health and fitness data in one central location.

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Fill Your Pool Need Right from Your iPhone

8ball

 

I’ve always had a love for pool. I’ve never been particularly good at it, but that hasn’t stopped me from spending countless hours racking, breaking, and putting a little “English” on the cue ball. Recently a friend of mine told me that he has been absolutely addicted to this pool game that he put on his iPhone. I’ll try any App once so I downloaded it and man was he right! I haven’t been able to put this game down! Any free time that I have I’ve found myself grabbing my phone for the next challenge. With multiple “billiards”, people from around the world to play with, and the ability to challenge your friends 8 Ball Pool will keep you playing and coming back for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Voice Control: Coming Soon to a House Near You

Tekbot

Oregon State University students use a TekBot that responds to voice command. 

IMAGE: FLICKR, OSU EECS
A startup called Wit.ai plans to make it easy for hardware makers and software developers to add custom voice controls to everything from smartphones and smart watches to Internet-connected thermostats and drones.While big companies like Apple and Google have their own voice recognition technology, smaller companies and independent developers don’t have the deep pockets required to create voice software that continuously learns from mountains of data.

Wit.ai, based in Palo Alto, California, is taking aim at the swiftly growing number of devices with small displays, or no screen at all, and at activities like driving and cooking, where you may want the aid of technology but don’t want to look at or touch a display.

And to give all kinds of developers access to a simple-to-use, always-learning natural-language service, the company is offering it free to those who agree to share their user data with the Wit.ai community. Collecting this data should help improve the accuracy of the system over time.

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