Today it was announced that Jawbone has acquired BodyMedia. Here’s an excerpt on the acquisition and announcement from pandydaily.
Today Jawbone, the company that makes the wearable “quantified self” band UP, issued two announcements: it’s rolling out an API so the device can integrate with other apps and connected devices relating to health and wellness. It’s also acquiring BodyMedia, which makes an FDA-approved weight-loss device called FIT that’s been used on the TV show “The Biggest Loser.”
The BodyMedia acquisition is a talent and intellectual property grab – it has 87 patents in its IP portfolio – but it will retain its name, continue producing the FIT, and keep its office in Pittsburgh open. The company would not disclose any other terms of the sale. The acquisition is a smart move in building out the product’s abilities in the future. BodyMedia has a medical bent, so surely future iterations of UP will pay more attention to things like disease monitoring.
But the really intriguing news is the API. It will allow partner apps to be able to tap into a user’s Jawbone data so she can find out more about her health and wellness habits. For example, a user can log onto MapMyFitness and view workout data in UP. Or he can step on a Withing scale – another connected device – and import his weight into up and see it in the context of sleeping and eating habits.
I think the article is right that the biggest asset that Jawbone is acquiring is the patent portfolio of BodyMedia. The other hard part is that I think the BodyMedia brand is better known than the Jawbone brand. So, the company will have a tough decision in how to go forward. It will take some time for them to work through the existing inventories and merge the product lines. It will be fun to watch.
I find the Jawbone API a little disappointing since it’s just a partner API. I know they say their intent is to eventually open up the Jawbone data to anyone, but I don’t understand why they wouldn’t do this from the start.