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Why I’m never buying another @Jawbone product & wonder if the wearables bubble will soon burst

I was really taken with my initial Jawbone Up24. Unfortunately, after around 9 months, it suddenly ceased to be able to hold a charge. The technical support was responsive but it was a long tedious process in which they insisted on ruling out every possibility before sending me a replacement, with the warning that it would take 4-6 weeks to arrive. The replacement band worked fine for around four months, until precisely the same problem recurred. At which point I gave up.

Last month I bought a Jawbone 2 on a whim when on a work trip, partly spurred by a conversation with someone who’d just bought the new FitBit. Once more, I was really pleased with it. In fact I was surprised that I’d been happy without one for six months. But 5 weeks later, the same problem is happening again. I charged it to full yesterday morning & the Jawbone is now on 30%. It holds less and less charge each time, pointing towards an unavoidable request for another replacement.

Or giving up entirely. Which is what I’ve decided to do. Searching the web, I soon found that countless others have had this problem. The evidence would suggest that there’s something fundamentally unreliable about the batteries that Jawbone put in their products. Yet they continue to ship them, apparently focusing on a dizzying array of iterations rather than ensuring the basic reliability of the underlying product.

Could this be a factor in half of those wearing fitness bands losing interest in them? Is the growth in this market sustainable given mounting evidence that so many users fail to maintain long term trajectories of engagement with these devices? If the manufacturers of these devices are liable to struggle in the long term, what might they do with the enormous volumes of extremely valuable data that they’ve collected in the meantime?

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