Whenever I go to tradeshows, such as CES and CTIA, I like to put different technology to the test. This year I brought the MotoACTV with me. I had a couple of reasons for choosing this device. First, we are seeing more fitness-centric tech hitting the market from watch-like devices to smartphone apps such as Endomondo. Second, I wanted a device that worked with a cell phone. At shows, I typically have four active cell phones with me and theres little time available for digging through a bag to find the one receiving a text message. Finally, I really wanted to know just how far I walk during an average day at a tradeshow in Las Vegas. The MOTOACTV did all of this and more.
Since I was taking the MOTOACTV with me this year, I had to become familiar with the device before I left, which meant calibrating it on a treadmill/stationary bike and doing some light workouts. Its actually quite easy to setup, just attach the MOTOACTV to a computer via the included microUSB-to-USB cable, install the MotoCast desktop software, and sync. Youll also be prompted to enter information such as height, weight, and age. The benefit of the MotoCast software is that it also works with Motorola Android phones and essentially lets you sync music, photos, and other information from your computer with the phone. If you dont want to sync music, there are some workout-centric songs preloaded on the device. Once its all setup its worthwhile to head over to the MOTOACTV website where you can set fitness goals, schedule workouts, and even get a training program if your planning on doing something like running a 5K. Too bad theres no training plan for attending CES.
The fitness features are great, but the intriguing feature for me is the cell phone tie-in. In addition to a few other active Android phones, I took along a DROID RAZR to the show and synced it with the MOTOACTV via Bluetooth. To be clear, the device will sync with other Android handsets, however, it does a bit more when it syncs with a smartphone that supports the MOTOACTV app. Once synced, I was able to get alerts from my phone on the MOTOACTV. Plus, if I had a Bluetooth headset connected I could have taken calls, as well.
Its time for CES in Las Vegas and Im tech ready for the show. I have a few phones in my backpack one of them the DROID RAZR and wear the MOTOACTV on my wrist via the wristband accessory (theres also an armband accessory), and head to the show. There are a couple of ways to track your steps using the MOTOACTV. The Outdoor option uses GPS, so when you sync it with the MOTOACTV site you can actually see your route. It works well; it just drains the battery faster. Speaking of GPS, I was sure to pause the workout whenever I was in a moving vehicle because the device will give you the distance, but not the steps. I kept it set to the Indoor option to preserve battery life. When attending a trade show, I typically leave the hotel at around 9am and usually dont see it again until after 10pm. After the hours spent on the tradeshow floor, there are other events and mini-tradeshows to attend. Often, once I leave the convention center I find myself walking from hotel to hotel since standing in a taxi line seems to be, well, more taxing than walking. I did this a couple of times while in Vegas, but waiting in line wasnt so bad since the MOTOACTV seemed to be quite the conversation starter. It was a great way to meet people and hear what they thought of the show.
How far did I go? According to MOTOACTV, on press day I took over 16,000 steps and walked a healthy 6.2 miles. The first day of the show, I managed to walk a little over 7.5 miles taking close to 20,000 steps. The second day of the show, I covered the most ground walking 10.32 miles and taking a little over 25,500 steps.
As interesting as it was to track how far I walked and the calories I burned, the functions I found myself using most were those related to the phone. Just by looking at the watch I could see if there was an alert. An alert could be a text message (click the text to read the entire message), a calendar appointment (I had my appointments with a reminder setting scheduled in Google Calendar), and even any missed calls. This functionality saved me a ton of time since I didnt have to constantly search for the phone in my backpack to see my schedule or delay in getting back to any important messages.
Like previous years, its clear CES has a lot of ground to cover and it seems to be getting bigger. Thats why I tell anyone I meet who is attending CES for the first time the same thing: Its a marathon, not a race. Thats probably why the MOTOACTV was such a solid companion to have during the show.