Touchscreen T-Shirts Only A Few Years Away
Under Armour is transitioning towards performance tracking, with their sights set on fabrics that display stats themselves.
Every day, technology becomes more ingrained in our lives. Most people have to keep their smart phones within arms reach. But what if instead of having your technology an arm’s length away, it was on your arm? Imagine: clothing with touchscreen capabilities built right into the fabric. A truly ‘wearable’ technology.
Under Armour is working on it as we speak, but they’re not quite there – yet.
Earlier this week, Under Armour officially unveiled Armour39: their next generation of wearable technology. Armour39 is an athletic performance monitoring system that measures ‘what matters most: WILLpower.’ WILLpower is Under Armour’s proprietary measurement for how hard an athlete pushes him or herself during a workout on a scale of 1-10, taking into account heart rate, calories burned, and past performances, among other things.
The Armour39 system, in its attempt to challenge the Nike FuelBand and other performance monitors, will track basic performance measurements like speed, intensity, heart rate, calories burned, a log of past performances, and other athletic metrics. The system does this with the use of a chest strap that contains an Under Armour ‘bug’ and heart monitor that capture all the information. The ‘bug’ can then be used in conjunction with the Armour39 watch, or with the use of an iOS app for iPhones to provide easy access to the data.
Unfortunately, the Armour39 performance monitor does not contain a GPS element for proper run tracking. In today’s market, this seems like a major product flaw that affects runners, who are presumably a large section of their target. This does, however, allow the device to run for nearly a year on the watch battery used in the device, but again, the use of a battery instead of a rechargeable component could be another consumer deterrent.
In promoting the new Armour39 system, Under Armour has released a commercial entitle “I Will” that seems to suggest a greater shift towards wearable technology. The video first focuses on the Armour39 system and chest strap, but transitions to a future concept suit that has touchscreen capabilities built directly into the fabric. The messaging in the video below makes it appear that Under Armour is currently working on such a suit, and not just promoting it as a concept.
The Armour39 system will be released for retail on March 20th, with the strap, monitor, and bundle costing $150 and the Armour39 watch another $199. You can sign up for updates and the latest information on the Armour39 system here.