We liked the look of Jawbone's UP fitness wristband when we first heard about it back in July, but its commercial release has been marred with numerous reports of defective units. Jawbone has now come forward with an apology and an explanation, and they've promised to do what it takes to make things right.
The Jawbone UP sits on your wrist and tracks your footsteps kinda like a pedometer. It can tell when you haven't been active in a while and will gently vibrate to remind you to get up and do something, and at night, it tracks your sleep and can be programmed to wake you up at the ideal time in your sleep cycle. Plus, it'll sync with your iPhone, allowing you to track your fitness and calories and do all that social networking stuff.
Or at least, that's what it's supposed to do. When it's functioning. Problem is, some UP wristbands die within about a week of turning them on for the first time. And by some, we mean lots. On Amazon, for example, reviews average two out of five stars, largely because it's hard to write a good review when your $150 fitness wristband doesn't actually work.
Jawbone, to their credit, has been trying to figure out just what the heck is going on here, and in an email sent today to customers, they've apologized and explained what they think the problem is:
"We've found an issue with two specific capacitors in the power system that affects the ability to hold a charge in some of our bands. We're also fixing an issue with syncing related to the band hardware. Typically, these issues surface within the first seven to ten days of use. The glitches are purely performance related and do not pose any safety risk."
Until they get these issues resolved, Jawbone has decided to cancel pending orders and stop shipping out UP wristbands, which is probably a good move. Meantime, if you have an UP band and it's not working out for you, Jawbone will be happy to exchange it. Or they'll give you a full refund. Heck, even if you're perfectly happy with your UP band, Jawbone is still willing to give you a refund. That's right, they've instituted a totally unconditional, no-questions-asked refund policy and you don't even have to return the product. This applies for everyone who's already bought the band, and also applies for everyone who decides to buy one between tomorrow and December 31st. Of 2012.
The Jawbone UP has some issues right now, no doubt about that. But what's going to save it is Jawbone's willingness to own up to what's going on, unreservedly apologize, keep their customers informed, and go above and beyond (way above and beyond) to make things right.