Fitbit rumoured to be buying personal training app FitStar

Fitness bands are probably the most easily recognizable form of wearable technology for the general consumer. For OEMs, the challenge is finding a way to make your product really stand out. Now it seems that Fitbit, one of the bigger names in wearable activity trackers, might be looking to use personalized training programs as a way to separate itself from the pack.

TechCrunch reports that Fitbit is considering acquiring FitStar, a company that motivates users to workout using customized workouts tailored to each user. <em>TechCrunch’s</em> sources say Fitbit will pay between $25 to $40 million in a cash-stock deal that could close as soon as next week.

It’s an interesting partnership, and one that may not seem to make a whole lot of sense at first glance. Sure, they’re both in the business of fitness, but Fitbit and its products are more focused on tracking simpler activities like walking, running, and stair climbing, as well as sleep and heart rate. FitStar, on the other hand, encourages a range of exercise including yoga, crunches, push ups, equipment based workouts and more. These are movements Fitbit wouldn’t really know what to do without beyond logging the whole session as an active period.

However, though they’re different products, the two companies could potentially offer something very special. FitStar is known for learning your body based on feedback you provide. If you tell it you could only manage four pushups, it will know not to assign you 50 in your next session. On the flip side, as you improve, it knows to push you harder. Fitbit may not know how many press ups you’ve done, but the data from your Fitbit’s sleep tracker could tell FitStar that you’re not very rested, which would explain poorer than normal performance. Or, it might see that you’ve climbed a huge number of steps and recommend a chest and arms workout as opposed to a full body session.

Regardless of Fitbit’s plans for FitStar, one thing is certain: making hardware alone is no longer enough to succeed in the business of fitness tracking and we’re starting to see a shift in how company’s approach these types of devices. HTC, for example, is expected to announce a fitness band next week at MWC. This device is thought to tie in with the company’s deal with Under Armour, which was announced in January and will see HTC build hardware for Under Armour’s UA Connect fitness community. For its part, Under Armour just purchased MyFitnessPal and Endomondo for half a billion dollars. No wonder Fitbit is looking to beef up its software offering.