Wahoo Fitness has been quite busy lately.
Wahoo released their fitness app for the iPhone and related equipment like speed/cadence sensor and heart rate monitors this summer. Those external accessories work with ANT+, though, which requires a dongle inserted into the phone’s pin port.
This new HR monitor works with the new Bluetooth Smart protocol, which is currently built only into the iPhone 4S, but other phones are on the way. The beauty of the system is that it requires no dongle or additional parts and apparently syncs up with the Wahoo Fitness app automatically. The app is free on iTunes, and the BlueHR strap is $79.99.
Bluetooth Smart (aka Bluetooth 4.0) is a new low-power, pulsing technology that doesn’t require a continuous connection or information stream like other Bluetooth protocols. This means that, like ANT+, it can make simple data transfers between devices like heart rate monitors, blood glucose monitors, security sensors, etc. And since phones, tablets and computers don’t seem to be in any rush to integrate ANT+, it could be that Bluetooth Smart ends up replacing ANT+ as an overall standard. This gets more likely the more sports equipment brands integrate functionality into apps rather than dedicated equipment.
From all appearances, Wahoo’s new BlueHR looks to make obsolete their $120 Gym Pack HR monitor/dongle package that just hit Best Buy stores nationwide last month.
Wahoo also has a new Wahoo Utility app that lets you troubleshoot connections (great for developers) and view and download a number of other, 3rd party apps like RunKeeper that now work with Wahoo’s hardware. Also free.