I love the Fitbit (check it out via the links at http://healthca.mp/fitbit ). I am currently comparing it to the Bodymedia armband. I must admit I prefer the passive nature of the Fitbit and the immediate feedback from the OLED display. I will take a look at the steps I have done during the day. I know it changes my behavior immediately. If I have not walked much that day I will grab my iPhone and go for a walk while I catch up on emails or make a few calls.
I also prefer the FitBit's more open architecture. The API is a cool feature. I hacve successfully imported Fitbit data to a Google spreadsheet. I alos like that I can export my fitbit data to my Personal Health Record (I was using Google Health but now that is dead - as of January 1, 2012 - I am now exporting the data to Microsoft HealthVault.) This is the way it should be. I don't want to create more islands of health data and Bodymedia seems to be it's own walled garden.
Anyway, I was looking at the Fitbit site yesterday and noticed a reference to steps climbed. I was intrigued. However, the answer is simple. There is a new FitBit in town. The Ultra. Not only does it come in multiple colors. Don't get too excited - it is just the inside of the clip that comes in a different color. But the FitBit Ultra counts steps climbed thanks to a new built-in altimeter. All this for the same price of $99.99.
I was lucky enough to win a Bodymedia armband at Social Health and have been promised a years subscription to the Bodymedia service. I am going to keep at it and see if my views change but at the moment Fitbit offers enough information for me. The mobile app is good for tracking weight and calories consumed. The immediate feedback on steps, miles and level of activity is a real positive and I don't have to have a device strapped to my arm.
I am also really confused with the BodyMedia activity manager. I have the iPhone App installed and use Bluetooth to sync the data from the armband to my phone. Yes, that is a neat feature, so I can get updates through out the day by just opening the app on my phone and pressing the button on the armband. But what really confuses me is the online Activity Manager. If I go to my laptop and go in to the Activity Manager at the Bodymedia.com web site the Activity Manager there doesn't seem to see the data that has been synced to the iPhone app. It does see the calorie data I have logged in to the iPhone app but if I have synced the armband with the phone that data does not seem to be uploaded to the web based activity manager. To me that seems plain stupid and confusing. So I am assuming I have to connect my armband via the USB cable and it will sync with the SYNC software and update the web Activity Manager. I much prefer the simplicity of the FitBit where I just have to walk within 15 feet of my computer at home and the charging base wirelessly uploads any data from my Fitbit.