Fitbit for Windows Phone 8.1 Adds Background Sync, Cortana Integration

Fitbit for Windows Phone 8.1 Adds Background Sync, Cortana Integration

A much needed, and much appreciated, update

For the past few weeks I've been using a beta version of the Fitbit app for Windows Phone 8.1 which significantly improves the experience of using a Fitbit fitness band with your favorite smart phone platform. The new version of the app, which is now available, adds Cortana integration and, more important, background sync so you don't need to manually sync the band data.

"As we do across all mobile platforms, we're continuing to design features that empower people with information and motivate them to set and reach goals with fun and engaging experiences on our mobile apps," Fitbit CEO James Park said in a prepared statement. "However, with the custom Cortana integration, we worked closely with Microsoft to design around its unique and innovative intelligent personal assistant technology to create an awesome experience for Fitbit users syncing to the Windows Phone platform, making it even easier for them to track and take control of their health and fitness results."

Here's what's new in Fitbit 1.3 for Windows Phone.

Background sync. This is the big one, in my opinion: As with other mobile platforms, Fitbit can now sync your band's fitness data in the background. Previously, you had to manually run the app and wait for it to sync.

Cortana integration (beta). You can now use Cortana voice control to log food using natural sentences such as "Fitbit, I had a cup of coffee" or "Fitbit, I ate two eggs," and also create silent tracker alarms.

Fitbit challenges. In a bid to make fitness more interactive and fun, Fitbit has added challenges—like Xbox Live achievements—so that you can challenge your Fitbit-using friends (across mobile platforms). Challenge categories include Daily Showdown (most steps in a day), Workweek Hustle (most steps Monday through Friday) and Weekend Warrior (most steps on Saturday and Sunday).

MobileTrack. Don't have your Fitbit? Using a SensorCore-based Nokia Lumia handset, you can still track your steps into Fitbit.

Push notifications. Fitbit now supports push notifications on Windows Phone so you can get challenge updates, messages, progress updates and more. And if you miss one, you can see it at any time in Action Center.

New languages. In addition to English, Fitbit for Windows Phone now supports French, German, Italian and Spanish too.

Nice live tile support

Looking ahead, Fitbit says it will provide numerous updates to the app on Windows Phone, including a major user experience update by the end of the year. These updates will also provide additional Cortana integration and improvements, support for coming new Fitbit wearables, a MobileRun feature that uses your phone's GPS and more language support. Fitbit also plans a Windows 8.1 app as well.

This update is a big deal to me since I use Fitbit daily, and have found the Windows Phone experience a bit frustrating until now.

You can download Fitbit from the Windows Phone Store. If you're already using the app, you will of course be updated automatically today.

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