Some new forms of wearable technology can perhaps seems a little bit forced at times. There are certain devices that would quite simply be better off without trying to cross over into the marketplace, a move which often comes from an urge to jump on the wearable bandwagon rather than offer new and engaging functionality to users. However, there are also cases where an existing device can be redefined completely thanks to the careful and considered implementation of wearable or ‘smart’ technology.
Headphones certainly fall into the latter category rather than the former. Walk down any busy street are you’re bound to see almost as many people wearing headphones as those without. They’re ubiquitous in this day and age, and for many it’s as natural as wearing a wristwatch to have their headphones in wherever they go. As you might imagine, this is the ideal foundation for a wearable device—if the user is already wearing a non-smart version of the product wherever they go, then the fact that they have to wear the product isn’t an issue. It might seem strange that the concept of having to wear a wearable is such a problem, but you only have to look at some of the negative response to the Google Glass to see that it’s something designers have to keep in mind.
So, headphones are a great starting point for a wearable device—but there are certain situations where a pair of headphones are even more likely to be worn than just as part of everyday life. One of those situations is exercise, and that’s just the activity that Pear Sports are hoping to help improve through the use of their Pear Stride headphones. Specifically designed to be worn while you’re running, working out or performing any other kind of physical activity, these smart headphones might just be a game-changer for the fitness aficionado.
The headphones themselves are a very practical pair of buds in line with the other sport-centric devices you might have seen on the market. They feature earlocks to make sure that they’ll stay put no matter how strenuous things get for you. They’re sweat and splash proof so you’ll be able to wear them in all conditions and have no fears that they’ll be tough enough to weather the storm. They’ve even been designed such that you’re able to hear what’s going on around you, perfect for the road runner who needs to have an awareness of traffic around them even when they’re completely focussed on their training. On top of this, the audio quality that the Pear Stride headphones offer is very good indeed, certainly able to hold its own against other speciality phones. However, all this is just the standard sort of functionality you’d expect from a device like this—these headphones have a whole host of features that set them apart from the rest of their field.
Used in conjunction with the free Pear Training Intelligence app, the Pear Stride headphones will help your take your exercise to the next level. You’ll be able to choose from a huge range of professional grade workout plans to find something that suits your goals and make the most of expert help to reach them. It’s like having access to a host of personal trainers, each one an expert in a different method of training or form of exercise. Pricing varies for these plans, but there’s a sizeable amount of free courses and taster sessions of the paid plans. Everything from a course that will take you from your couch to running a marathon over the course of twenty weeks to strength and conditioning workouts using a kettlebell is at your fingertips—all you have to do is the workouts themselves.
When you’ve decided which training program you want to enrol in, your headphones become your personal trainer, offering you encouragement and praise as you work through your routines. It’s more than just an audio track to download—this interaction as well as the information you need to carry out your workout is given to you interspersed throughout the music that you’re listening to. It’s a very well-executed system that gives you all the tools you need to accomplish your fitness goals, and does so in a very intuitive and engaging package. As time goes on, it’s not difficult to imagine the workout library growing and growing, but even now there’s enough content there that just about anyone could find something that suits their individual tastes and goals.
The exercise that you do is tracked by the headphones through the app, and then presented to you either directly on your smartphone or through your home computer once your session is finished. All your stats and information is tracked, so you can measure your improvement or share it with your pals for some friendly competition. From the individual workouts to a more broad picture of how your fitness is improving, the Pear Stride is part of a larger system that really lets you take control of your exercise from start to finish. The tools are all there for you to excel, it’s a simply matter of doing your bit in terms of the exercise itself.
The Pear Stride system looks set to explode in popularity, bringing together the best elements of smart headphones with the appeal of a more conventional exercise tracker device. The product was featured heavily on the Amazon wearables store that launched recently, and as a result completely sold out on the site. If you’re itching to buy your pair of Stride headphones, they’re still available from the official Pear web store and will likely be restocked by Amazon imminently. You can either buy the phones by themselves, or buy the full system including a heart rate strap and a gear bag for the price of $99.95 USD, with individual workout plans being sold separately via the official Pear app. This is the sort of fitness system that anyone wanting to get serious about the exercise could get a lot of mileage out of, and it might be the most comprehensive service of this kind available to users at the moment. Like any exercise-based wearable, you get out what you put in, but in this case the possibilities for what you could get out of it, as well as the help you get to keeping up your end of the bargain, make it a very attractive prospect for any budding fitness buff.