Our smartphones are fast becoming personal tracking devices, and a number of apps are measuring movement to help you measure how fast you ran or how much of a couch potato you are. Finland's Fjuul is focusing on the casual movement area, where they see a hole in the market in tracking the physical activities, like walking or gardening, that take up 80% of your life.
The app runs silently in the background, picking up accelerometer and some rough location data. Fjuul analyzes this data on the device to determine the Metabolic Equivalent of Task, which allows them to come up with a metric across different weights and profiles.
Because they're measuring the intensity of the task, you're getting a better picture than a pure pedometer, although it does measure steps, minutes of activity, and a calorie estimate.
The closest thing to compare Fjuul to in the Nordics is Moves, another Helsinki-based app that tracks your movements during the day, but more casually than RunKeeper or some app like that. Moves focuses more heavily on location tracking, so you can dig back and see everywhere you walked. I think it's a good value proposition, as right now my sister has been visiting, and I can see on a map everywhere we walked in Stockholm, or where we grabbed food in Tallinn.
But with this location tracking there are tradeoffs, because my battery drops like a brick whenever I don't have it plugged in. It's gotten to the point where I think it must be a combination of a bad battery and Moves, because it's a little ridiculous.
Fjuul claims to be lighter on the battery by not focusing on location data, but on intensity of movement. "So in a way, we traded in GPS accuracy for low power consumption and individuality of motions without disturbing phone use. We feel that this matches better our defined target audience, the casual mover," says Sascha Wischek, CEO and founder of Fjuul.
There are plenty of pedometer apps out there, but Fjuul focuses on providing a simple metric you can check at the end of the day to see how active your day was. The drawback is that it can't tell you milage, but you still get the basic info on whether you had a good or bad day. In this way, people can start thinking about their daily activities and routines.
Fjuul runs for $1.99 in the App Store, and has climbed up to #1 in the paid health & fitness category in Finland.
I've been testing it out for a few days and I like it. The colors are nice, the Fjuul points give you a good idea of how active you were compared to your goal. The app also plugs into HeiaHeia, the fitness and activity tracking platform, which is handy. There are some days where you really don't realize how little you move, which is embarrassing for someone who likes to think they are in shape. As the saying goes, you can't improve what you don't measure.