CES 2016

Under Armour's New HealthBox Fitness Tool Combines a Scale, App and Wearables

Brand reportedly invested $1 billion to build the tech

Under Armour hopes to differentiate itself with wearables. Under Armour

Under Armour wants to prove that it can play alongside the big sports and tech brands, and the apparel brand is making its first foray into fitness tech and wearables to prove it.

At CES,  Under Armour debuted a new technology product called HealthBox. The program includes three devices—a WiFi-enabled scale, a fitness band and a heart rate tracker—that feed into a mobile app. The kit monitors the user's sleep, fitness, activity and nutrition, and the app pulls all of the data together, promising to give consumers a comprehensive read of their health.

The set of devices retails for $400 and is available online for pre-order before it becomes readily available on Jan. 22.

This week's tech push is a new space for the brand, which is more well known for specialized athletic clothes and gear (not to mention empowering ad campaigns with Gisele Bündchen and Misty Copeland). But as health/wellness has become a bigger issue for the everyday consumer, Under Armour is expanding into new niches.

"There is a huge portion of our community that is really focused on a healthy lifestyle—food is fuel for them instead of being about calories, and sleep is a really important part of it," Jim Mollica, Under Armour's vp of digital marketing, told Adweek. "This becomes the natural progression of [Under Armour] doing that."

HealthBox has been in the works for the past few years. According to a recent Inc. article, Under Armour has plunked down $1 billion in the past two years to acquire mobile apps like MapMyFitness and build the tech that powers the fitness kit.

Under Armour faces increasing competition in the fitness wearable space. More than 470 exhibitors at CES this week are hawking fitness and sports technology, and every major athletic brand is making inroads with wearables and other connected devices. New Balance is touting 3-D printed shoes this week, and Nike recently received a patent to make a smart shoe with a built-in fitness tracker.

Still, Mollica contended that Under Armour's approach has a chance at standing out because it collects data from multiple devices. And the more data consumers provide, the better the technology works. Eventually, Under Armour will be able to recommend personalized workout and meal plans from HealthBox for its registered users.

"What's failed in the past is regurgitated data," Mollica said. "Now, we're giving you deep insights with comparisons and [information] to optimize your health."

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