Fitbit has just released a software update for its Charge HR and Surge activity trackers that lets you get a little lazier when it comes to being active.
A new feature called "SmartTrack" will now automatically detect when you've started a workout session or new activity, rather than requiring you to press a button or swipe through an activity menu to start a workout. According to Fitbit, the software is able to detect running, outdoor cycling, walking, elliptical workouts, basketball, tennis, soccer, and even high-impact cardio workouts like kickboxing and dance classes.
It's a feature not too dissimilar from the auto-detection feature in Jawbone's Up activity tracker, which recognizes spikes in activity and, based on anonymized data gathered from millions of other workouts logged in the Up platform, suggests in the compatible Up mobile app what your workout type may have been.
In addition to the exercise auto-detection, Fitbit is rolling out a new feature in its mobile app for iOS and Android that lets users set weekly workout goals, instead of just recording daily workouts after they've occurred.
You don't even need to push a button to start a workout, you just need to work out
The Charge HR and Surge both include Fitbit's proprietary heart rate sensing technology, but they're definitely different products aimed at different consumers. The $150 Charge HR looks and works just like Fitbit's other lightweight, step- and sleep-tracking wristband, the Charge, but with the addition of heart rate tech. The $250 Surge, on the other hand, has built-in GPS along with a handful of dedicated workout apps, and is clearly meant for more serious athletes.
Back in September, Fitbit rolled out another major software update to the Surge that pushed the battery life up to 10 hours while in "active" mode, a critical feature for long-distance cyclists and runners.
Fitbit is still the clear market leader when it comes to activity trackers, but so far has not announced any new products for the holidays; these software updates are a clear effort to make the popular activity trackers even more appealing as consumers head into the holiday shopping season.