Fitbit for Windows Phone 8.1

Fitbit for Windows Phone 8.1

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And yet another gotta-have-it app appears on Windows Phone: the official Fitbit app launches on Windows Phone 8.1 later today, offering real-time Bluetooth syncing between your smart phone handset and Fitbit activity tracker.

I've been using a pre-release version of the Fitbit app for the past few days and it works much like its Android- and iOS-based siblings. It will sync with your activity tracker in real time, helping you track steps, miles walked, floors climbed, active minutes, calories burned and even sleep (on supported devices). The app also provides access to weight tracking and food plans for a more complete fitness overview.

I had used two Nike Fuelband devices before getting a Fitbit Force earlier this year. I find the Fitbit to be more accurate, and I'm intrigued by its ability to track sleep (though you have to remember to enable this before you fall asleep each night). It's also much smaller and lighter than the Nike products.

To date, the only issue was getting data from the device into Fitbit's cloud services. Fitbit provides a Bluetooth dongle for PCs, but that's not hugely convenient. Better is mobile app support: On my Android handsets and iPhone 5S, I can simply run the Fitbit app and automatically sync that way. But of course I don't use those phones regularly, I use Windows Phone. So the availability of this app was great news for me.

Like the Android and iOS versions of the app, Fitbit for Windows Phone 8.1 syncs wirelessly with your fitness tracker. (You need to have Bluetooth turned on, of course.) It doesn't (yet) support automatic background syncing, however, so you do need to run the app from time to time. But Fitbit says automatic background syncing is on the way, and could arrive as soon as this week.

The UI will look familiar to anyone who has used Fitbit on Android and iOS, with the main Dashboard display being identical aside from the Windows Phone font and layout choices.

But where the other Fitbit mobile apps offer a drawer-based UI for secondary interfaces, Fitbit for Windows Phone instead provides a Windows Phone-standard pivot, where you can access Friends and your device info on separate pages. There's also a tile-filled page that's unique to Windows Phone for access activity, water, food, and sleep logs as well as alarms.

According to Fitbit, the app provides the following features:

Real-time stats. Automatic and wireless syncing for all Fitbit activity and sleep trackers through Bluetooth 4.0.

Fitbit on your Start Screen. You can pin the Fitbit Live Tile to your Start screen and quickly view your step count as it progresses.

(Devbit was the pre-release name of the app)

Stay on track. Real-time and historical stats in easy-to-understand graphs, to help track progress and set goals.

Log more than activity. Recently enhanced food database of more than 350,000 foods with accurate nutritional data for faster, better food-logging and calorie coaching.

Get motivated. Fitbit's motivational social tools like notifications and badges, to help reach target goals. (My best day so far was 19,000 steps in Washington D.C.)

Stay social. Ability to challenge friends and family with leaderboards, direct messages, cheers and taunts.

The Fitbit app for Windows Phone 8.1 will be available from the Windows Phone Store today. (If you don't see it yet, check back soon.)

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