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TomTom joins bevy of fitness apps debuting in the new year

The TomTom Sports app will be available for download from the Apple Store and Google Play store starting at the end of January in most countries, and connects with most late-model iPhones and an array of Android devices. The app is the latest product for TomTom Sports, which has been developing fitness technology since 2009, and it indicates a strategic pivot towards the data-driven approach to fitness that has been in vogue in recent years.

?We have made it our mission to get people going,? said Patrick Stal, vice president of marketing for TomTom Sports. ?The new TomTom Sports app makes that promise come to life and we believe it will motivate people at all levels to get going to ultimately become fitter and healthier. 

?All the new features are meant to give users the insights and motivation they need to keep moving, in whatever way they see fit?from going to the gym or on a hike to walking to work.?

TomTom Sports
A line of tech-enabled fitness products was a natural extension of TomTom?s primary business, which mainly deals with location and mapping products such as GPS navigations systems. The company made use of existing properties with its first product, the TomTom Runner Cardio, which was the first GPS sports watch to include an optical heart-rate monitor. 

The TomTom Sports app also does not skimp on TomTom?s signature GPS technology, using location data to track up to 12 different activity types ranging from running, cycling and swimming to skiing, trail running and hiking. The app also syncs data with other location-based technologies including Nike+, Runkeeper, and MapMyFitness.

The app also offers motivational messages, activity trends and comparisons, granular performance stats and social sharing functions.

TomTom Sports also takes after competitor apps in that it provides metrics such as resting heart rate in conjunction with technology such as the aforementioned TomTom Runner Cardio, and also features body composition tracking?important to the millions of Americans looking to augment their weight loss resolutions in the new year.

?No one other than the user is the owner of their fitness data,? Mr. Stal said. ?And users enjoy seeing and sharing that information across different platforms. 

?Enabling that seamless experience and removing as many barriers as possible eliminates potential excuses,? he said. ?Different platforms are used at different times for different reasons. 

?We've decided to play nice with them all, allowing users to enjoy whatever experience they want without friction.?

Fitness apps
The app also touts features geared towards more advanced athletes, including data insights based on performance analytics on a by-the-second level. Users can also benchmark their latest performance against their personal bests.

Fitbit started the new year by rolling out its new Fitstar app, which touts the most personalized Fitbit mobile experience yet by integrating data-driven mobile video capabilities and customizable music. (see story). 

And supplement company Hydroxycut also made a dubious attempt at a fitness app that only differentiates itself from its competitors in its unqualified focus on weight loss as the primary metric for health, unsurprising from a company mainly interested in peddling fat burner supplements (see story). 

?Not all apps are born equal,? Mr. Stal said. ?Many users are starting to face an overload of data that they get from fitness apps.

?But data does little to motivate by itself,? he said. ?We know people look for ready to digest top-level information about their sports activities as well as very detailed data views, but what they really need are insights about that performance and their trends for motivation.?