New Wearable Fitness Tracker Debuts at Just $1 a Month

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It's about to get a lot cheaper to track your fitness activity, calories burned and sleep patterns. The Life Tracker 1 will begin shipping later this year, costing just $12 a year for the wristband hardware and access to the reporting software app.

Pivotal Living is the company behind the low-cost entry into the crowded and competitive fitness tracking niche. The Seattle-based upstart is helmed by a former Microsoft (MSFT) employee, but the real head-turning aspect of the Life Tracker 1's debut is its price.

Today's most popular fitness bracelets start at $60, with more advanced models selling north of $100. You're going to generate plenty of buzz if you hit the market with a wearable device given away with the $12 annual app subscription.

Catching Up in a Hurry

The fitness tracker market has been dominated by Fitbit and Jawbone for years. Nike (NKE) tried to give it a go with its Nike+ FuelBand. The $149 fitness bracelet got off to a strong start two years ago with its high-tech device that uses a three-axis accelerometer to track movements using a proprietary NikeFuel metric of measurement. However, it failed to gain traction, and Nike went on to lay off the majority of the FuelBand's hardware team in April, discontinuing a slimmer model that was supposed to hit the market this year.

Nike is the undisputed champ of athletic footwear and apparel, but sometimes a killer brand isn't enough. We've seen that with Samsung (SSNLF) and Garmin (GRMN) with their recent push into wearables, and in a few weeks, we'll see Apple (AAPL) give it a shot with its Apple Watch.

Apple is gunning for the high end of the wearables market with a smartwatch starting at $349. That device will of course, track fitness activity, but its major selling points are how it plays nice with smartphones to serve up calls, notifications, text messages and even select app interactions.

Big tech sees big money in grabbing you by the wrist, but that trend also represents an opportunity for a hungry upstart like Pivotal Living, with all of nine employees, as it tries to get its fledgling platform off the ground.

Life Tracker 1 or Life Tracker Won?

Skeptics will argue that you will be getting what you pay for, but the Life Tracker 1 will do plenty for that annual $12 subscription. Let's go over the features tracked or displayed on the wristband, according to the press release.

  • Calories burned

  • Sleep length

  • Total steps

  • Sleep quality

  • Distance

  • Hydration

  • Daily active time

  • Weight

  • Percentage met of daily goals

The tracking wristband will need to be charged every five to seven days, and a manual sync every three days or so will pass on the information to your smartphone or tablet to store historical data. The app for Android and iOS devices will be available in early November.

Tools will promote engagement by having owners create teams with friends, but we already know that the social element that differentiated Nike over the competition wasn't a game changer. Then again, Nike never attempted to hit the market at the radical price point that we're seeing here. If the low price makes the Life Tracker 1 a hot stocking stuffer this holiday season, there could be some viral magic in its corner.

The price is right. The mobile health tech niche is emerging. It's a fitness tracker that the market will be watching, but we can never forget that there are bigger companies out there that are hungry for a piece of this booming market.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Nike. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Nike. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on the Apple Watch to learn where the real money is to be made for early investors.