First Click: The Jawbone’s connected to the… AmEx payment terminal

April 16th, 2015

There’s a palpable sense of futility accompanying this morning's announcement of the Up4, Jawbone’s $199 fitness tracker with NFC chip for contactless AmEx payments. It’s the ultimate niche device, catering to a market segment that, a) owns an AmEx card, and b) is willing to pay $200 for a dedicated fitness band instead of, say, a Pebble or Android Wear smartwatch like the Moto 360.

$200 would be a pittance if the Up4’s sensors were sophisticated enough to detect my melancholy and then change the song playing on my Jambox to lift my spirits. Or if it could sense my shivers, and bump the Nest thermostat a few degrees. Or detect that I’m taking a Sunday nap and wake me in time to pick up the kids from practice. Hell, it could even tell my Telsa to pull over if I’ve fallen asleep at the wheel.

It’s getting there. The groundwork is in place and Jawbone’s already collected a rich history of how millions of bodies function over time. But the interaction with the outside world isn’t a seamless experience yet for the masses. The new Up4 is just an accessory for the AmEx payment terminal, not my life.

Five stories to start your day

  1. Jawbone's new Up4 is a fitness tracker that's also a mobile wallet

    The ability to double as a mobile wallet is usually reserved for pricier smartwatches like the Apple Watch and smartphones themselves. But Jawbone seems to think that its wrist-worn health trackers are the perfect vehicle for NFC payments. Today, the company is announcing Up4, an upgraded version of the Up3 (which is finally, only now about to start shipping) that adds an NFC chip necessary to pay on the go.

  2. Help, I made a $57 million garbage food startup monster

    I'm Nitasha. I'm disgusting. I order weird food from an app because I don't want to leave my apartment. Today the San Francisco-based company behind that app, Sprig, announced that it raised $45 million in venture capital, bringing its total funding to $57 million. I feel like I should apologize for my role in this latest round of financing, but chances are I'm not going to stop.

  3. Watch the US trailer for the latest (and possibly last) Studio Ghibli film

    Next month might be your last chance to see a brand new feature film from the legendary animation studio behind movies like Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro, and Spirited Away. On May 22nd, When Marnie Was There will open in Los Angeles and New York before expanding elsewhere.

  4. What's in your flavored e-cig anyway?

    The chemicals making your e-cigarette taste like cotton candy may be harmful to your health, even when they're advertised as being safe. In a new study on the flavorings that go into e-cig liquids, researchers found that certain flavoring chemicals were present in quantities beyond what may be safe for inhalation.

  5. Twitter's new front page advertises news sources, tech reporters, and butts

    Twitter has a new login page that collates images from its most popular users to keep you informed about important topics like world politics, movie gossip, tech news, and — apparently — spandex-clad butts.

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