Thumbs down for the Jawbone UP

I’m truly disappointed to report that my Jawbone UP is going back for a refund, because it has failed to live up to its promises.

The second-generation UP has been a make-or-break product for Jawbone, having made a brave, early move last year into wearable technology. Then the company was forced to recall the original product due to quality issues.

I’d been eagerly awaiting the revised, second-gen version of UP and ordered my “Jawbone” immediately when the product went on sale in Europe, in March.

The honeymoon period was over after a short period, when I noticed that the claimed “Up to 10 days of use between charges” was spectacularly wide of the mark. After some emailing with Jawbone support, my original device went back as faulty and a replacement arrived in mid-May.

Therefore you can imagine my disappointment when, six weeks later, my UP is down to a runtime of maximum four days. This is nowhere near the claim – and that’s why it’s going back. As previously blogged, I could just about live with a 7-day battery life, but this is not good enough.

From a PR perspective, Jawbone is staring down the barrels of a disaster. There’s already a lot of chat out there about UP’s reliability. Seeing the UP fail a second time is going to cause Jawbone some serious credibility issues, but then again so will the failure to admit that there is a problem. Now there’s a challenge.

For Jawbone, could it have been that in the race-to-market for wearable technology, the company decided to overlook essential quality control issues and go ahead with the launch regardless?

For me, the question is: what to get instead? The Nike+ Fuelband or the “slim and stylish” Fitbit Flex?

Simon Jones, Managing DirectorOnPR, GmbH

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