Android vs iOS vs WP8: The Battle of Fitness
Summer is here, and many of us are coming to terms with the effects comfort-eating over the previous three seasons has had on our stomachs. I myself have taken up running using RunKeeper alongside a whole host of sit-ups, push-ups, and squats apps from Runtastic's fantastic suite of applications in the hope I can take my top off poolside without ending up with the beach to myself (although that doesn't sound half bad.)
The apps I chose specifically because they all sync with MyFitnessPal, and therefore provide a central location for monitoring my exercise alongside calorie intake.
This combination has worked for me, but there were many apps I skipped over because they didn't work with MyFitnessPal and instead either used another solution or their own. If you were into more obscure exercises, then you may have hit even more barriers than I did. I've seen first-hand the potential benefits of a fitness tracker at an OS-level. Apple introduced us to their solution at WWDC with the company's "HealthKit" which is similar to Samsung's "Sami" that was unveiled the previous month. Both of these frameworks allow data to be aggregated from apps and wearable devices such as heart rate monitors into one convenient area for an overview of the user's health.
The data, if allowed, can improve the service provided by not only apps - but also the medical profession. With pacemakers now able to be linked wirelessly, imagine if your doctor can be alerted the moment something isn't looking quite right with your ticker?
So it's not only a cool area, but also an important one. Can you imagine the amount of lives which could have been extended as a result of this technology? Frankly, it could be as - if not more - important than even the invention of Penicillin.
Google isn't ready to be left behind in this marathon. The company is planning to launch a new service called "Google Fit" which is thought to be debuted at their I/O developer conference being held later this month on June 25th and 26th. Unlike Apple, Google's service is likely to be Open and thus available cross-platform with deep ties to the giant's web services.
Imagine events such as ToughMudder - which was originally designed by the British Special Forces to be a test of mental and physical strength - preventing you from entering unless you can prove your elite fitness levels by logging in with your Google Fit credentials?
Much of the plans have been kept under wraps. Looking at the available sessions at I/O also doesn't reveal much, but Google Fit could well be discussed at sessions such as “Wearable computing with Google” on Day 1, followed by “Designing for Wearables,” or the broader “Android and Cloud” session on Day 2 could well play host to the framework.
It's not hard to imagine Google wants their new health framework to tie-in closely with their "Android Wear" platform. Various wearable devices worn on the user could collect accurate data of the user's current state - such as heart rate and temperature. LG is widely-expected to launch its G Watch at the I/O event with rumours saying it will be a free giveaway to attendees.
Microsoft is also said to be bolstering their HealthVault app, which launched in 2010, through the launch of their own smartwatch later this year. Although a guess on my part it's not a stretch to imagine it will tie-in to their "Xbox Fitness" service (which offers professional fitness tuition) on their home console to offer a complete health-boosting solution.
Going by my twitter feed today, Microsoft is keen to flex their fitness muscles...
How important do you think fitness tracking will be? Let us know in the comments.