Fitbit for Android just received a neat new update, enabling Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X owners to automatically track basic fitness activity even without a dedicated wearable.
The new feature is called MobileTrack, but it has yet to become available for other devices.
"Introducing MobileTrack on Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. You can now use the Fitbit app without a Fitbit tracker by using your phone's sensors to track basic activity data including steps, distance, and calories burned," explains the app page, detailing what's new with the update.
Those worried about battery life should know that this option will not take a heavy toll on the smartphone's battery performance. Yes, advanced smartphones with all necessary tech to track fitness activities typically drain considerably more battery life when serving as fitness trackers, but that's only if they don't have motion co-processors.
MobileTrack uses the Android Sensor Hub to get that basic activity data, which is a dedicated co-processor built into the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The Android Sensor Hub works by tapping into the handsets' camera sensors without waking up the device.
More advanced fitness tracking will still require a dedicated fitness wearable, but this new option should do just fine for those looking to get just some basic activity data. Sure, it may not be as detailed as the data provided by a dedicated fitness tracker, but at least it doesn't require a separate device and doesn't drain the smartphone's battery, so it's a pretty good deal.
With this feature now enabled for the Fitbit Android app on the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, maybe more fitness apps will add automatic tracking for basic fitness info on more devices. For now, it's a start.
Fitbit rules the wearable technology market, as Kantar Worldpanel data revealed earlier this month, and it has plenty of options to suit various needs, preferences and budgets.
Offering basic tracking data without a wearable could eventually prompt users to seek more advanced fitness information, for which they'd have to purchase a dedicated tracker. Even if not, Fitbit could get more app users and fans, so this move looks good from all angles.