Jawbone To Release A New Health-Focused Wearable

May 31, 2016, 5:33 PM UTC
Jawbone Up2 fitness band
Jawbone's Up2 fitness band
Courtesy of Jawbone

As Fortune reported exclusively on Friday, fitness tracker maker Jawbone has put its speaker business up for sale as it looks to focus on health and wearables. The company is betting on a new, health-focused wearable device and has stopped producing its current line of wearables, according to separate reports by technology news sites The Verge and Tech Insider.

Jawbone is best known for its UP fitness trackers, a wrist-worn device that premiered in 2011 and tracks things like steps taken, sleep, and heart rate. The company also has a speaker business, introduced in 2010, and produced several different sizes of wireless speakers.

The former Silicon Valley darling has had a tough couple of years amid layoffs, competition with wearable companies like Fitbit and Apple, product delays, and executive shuffles. In November, Jawbone laid off 15% of its global workforce, or about 60 people.

TechInsider reported Friday that Jawbone has stopped producing its UP fitness trackers and sold its remaining inventory of them to a third-party reseller. The Verge then followed up by saying that Jawbone would still make wearable devices, but that it is creating a “clinical-grade health tracking related to heart monitoring.”

It’s unclear if the new device will also be branded as an UP tracker or whether it would have a different name. Further details about when the new device will be available or whether it would be targeted to consumers is unknown.

A Jawbone spokeswoman denied that the UP brand would disappear, and that it has ceased working on the production of the brand. In a statement, she said:

Jawbone has not ceased working on the production of UP products nor do we intend to. Each and every employee at Jawbone is currently focused on the design, development, marketing and production of either our current, or our next generation, UP wearables product line.

As Fortune reported earlier, it’s not particularly surprising that Jawbone is betting on health and wearables while selling its speaker business. Last year, Jawbone’s share of the U.S. speaker market declined to 5%, prompting the company’s co-founder and chairman, Alex Asseily, to tell Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky that selling the non-wearable business would be “painful” but prudent.

“Over the last year we’ve come to terms with the fact that our future value is focused on wellness,” Asseily said at the time. “Audio is great, and I think our audio products, particularly Jambox, are sexier. But it’s not as big a market.”

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But Jawbone also faces huge competition in health and wearables. Rival Fitbit sells a number of fitness trackers and currently is the leader in the space. Apple, Xiaomi, and Samsung are also all ahead of Jawbone by shipments and market share, according to a report from research firm, IDC.


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