Motiv, one of the few smart ring success stories, is ready to go global. It's now available to buy in the UK, Australia and New Zealand priced at ¬£199.99.
If you need a reminder, the smart ring designed for men and women packs in an optical heart rate sensor and a 3-axis accelerometer. That means it's able to track activity type, active minutes, activity intensity, sleep duration, active heart rate, resting heart rate, calories burned, distances and steps. It's also waterproof so it's safe for a swim too.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers to buy
We're big fans of the piece of smart jewellery as you can see from our Motiv review, and since its launch the startup has been rolling out updates to add more features and functionality to the sleek smart ring. That's included deeper Alexa support, an Android companion app and integration with both Apple Health and Google Fit.
So why has Motiv succeeded where other smart ring and jewellery makers have so far failed? "When the company set out to build the device, we wanted to build something that our users would wear 24/7 and that's what happened," Motiv's CEO Tejash Unadkat tells us.
"In 2017 we launched the ring. We were the only ring in production. From our perspective, we have a platform now. The next frontier is how do we take this ring form factor and figure out what sensors can offer value from the finger? We are essentially the first truly wearable ring on the market that is selling."
The buyer break down
Motiv is Unadkat's sixth startup ‚Äď he previously spent time with Basis Science, the wearable tech company that was acquired by Intel. He believes the bar has been significantly raised for building wearables since his days on the management team responsible for producing devices like the Basis Peak. With Motiv, Unadkat now feels it is the right time to bring the wearable to other countries. Apparently the countries where the ring will now be sold served up the most enquiries about getting hold of the fitness tracking device.
"Before deciding to branch out, we made sure we had thousands of users use Motiv to give us feedback and to figure out what we needed to build to add more value", he says. "People like the ring, people like the features. It was the next logical step."
But who is actually buying Motiv? Unadkat tells us that it's quite an even split between men and women. "When we started, we thought we are going to get this gym buff to wear the ring," he said. "But we've been pleasantly surprised. Our user base is very even across the US. We typically get female users from the late 20s to 40 range. What they do is they use the ring, because they don't want to wear something on the wrist. They want something that's sleek and subtle."
"From a male perspective, it's also people who don't want to wear something on their wrist. It gives you clean data. It's the ideal form factor where we can build more and more functionality."
Apple's health push is good for all
Motiv's announcement comes hot on the heels of Apple's unveiling of the Watch Series 4, which has become the first FDA approved smartwatch to include ECG, which can detect irregular heart rate rhythms. Unadkat doesn't see the Cupertino company as a rival for Motiv, but does believe Apple, along with Fitbit, is providing the foundations for wearable tech to really thrive.
"Apple, what they've done strategically, is fantastic," he tells us. "What Apple and Fitbit are going after is getting deep into health. Knowing the hardware technology that's behind that, you need a powerful device. So there's a certain set of users that will appreciate it.
"Our user base is slightly different. For our users, ECG and atrial fibrillation, they'd go to a doctor before looking for a device that offers that. Apple is blazing a trail. From what our uses are looking for though, it's not quite the device for them. High level fitness activity, heart rate and sleep are the aspects that we want to focus on."
So what happens next for Motiv? Will we see new hardware or will it continue to roll out software updates that breathes new life into its smart ring? "We've spent three plus years building this smart ring platform," Unadkat tells us. "What we have on our roadmap is: how do we maximise the internals built into the ring? We might even have the potential to make the ring smaller. That's something we are figuring out right now.
"We could keep introducing hardware. But ultimately, the combo of hardware and software is what matters. We've built hardware that can last a long time. We've built something that really works. The platform is built for expansion and we can keep adding new features and functionality. We certainly don't want to be one of those companies that will six months down the line ask you to spend another $100 or so on a new ring."