Will a second chance work for UP?

The Jawbone UP was a hugely anticipated new wearable technology product for life tracking that was announced in 2011 at TED and brought to the market shortly after. Unfortunately, due to malfunctioning hardware, UP's big debut was a major disaster and was pulled from the shelves after just one month. The product only worked for the first few hours until the battery died. Recharging it did nothing. So, with an empty wallet and time spent learning the app, you were left with nothing but another pretty wristband to add to your collection. It was a product manager's and customer service nightmare. In fact, a colleague of mine had 4 sent to him while we were testing the product that all died  after only about 8 hours of use. We kept wondering why they would send the same malfunctioning product without fixing it. Well, it looks like they finally did. Now the question is will the market give UP a second chance?

Signs point to yes. Why? For one, Jawbone has put significant investment into improving their second generation UP product through 3 Million hours of user testing and is publicizing their dedication to learning their lesson and fixing the problem. Hopefully, this will be enough to improve people's perception of the brand and reignite market interest. It's worth paying attention to. Second, the product has the making for a compelling experience by following the 4 principles toward successful wearable technology experiences:

Up is...

  1. Contextual : It understands the audience, what we need to improve our lives, and how to integrate into our lifestyle rather than making us change to use it.
  2. Discreet : It pushes the technology to the background so it’s non-disruptive and ambient. You don't see wires or screens. It works for you in the background.
  3. Connected : It connects to software and services that bring more value to the experience.
  4. Fashionable : It removes the geek-factor and looks like something you would want to wear rather than have to wear.

UP's new challenge? It has to work flawlessly. Now, I'm off to order mine to find out...


Jawbone UP is a wearable band, which is infused with sensors and a connected smartphone, allowing you to track your eating, sleeping, and activity patterns. Together, the combination of a sensor-infused wristband and a smartphone app will provide nudges for healthier living, based on your behavior. Click here for more info on UP, or watch the video featuring designer Yves Béhar on his journey creating UP (note that there is absolutely no mention of the initial failure...hmmmmm....)

Image source from Fastcompany.