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Apple Watch Tops List of Hottest Fitness Trackers

Man checking a fitness tracker on a run
Man checking a fitness tracker on a run

(Getty Images)

Have you clocked your 10,000 steps today? A couple of years ago, that question might have been nearly impossible to answer. Now it’s a daily obsession for the 84 million people wearing fitness trackers.

Market research firm IHS Technology predicts that consumers will spend more than $2.2 billion this year on wristbands, arm bands, and other devices that track their every move and send that data to their smartphones. According to mobile analytics firm Flurry (now part of Yahoo), fitness apps are growing nearly twice as fast as any other category in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Which fitness trackers are capturing people’s interest? To answer that question, we deployed Yahoo algorithms to scour the Web for the devices people talk about most, curated the list, and then drilled down into the ones Yahoo readers searched for most in the past month.

The result: A real-time snapshot of the hottest wearables on the market — including some that aren’t even on the market yet. No. 1 on our list is one that nearly no one outside its manufacturer has ever seen.

1. Apple Watch

Apple Watch
Apple Watch

The Apple Watch. (Apple.com)

Within hours of Apple’s announcement of the Apple Watch on Sept. 9, searches for the device formerly known as the “iWatch” spiked by more than 400 percent, vaulting it into the top position. The long-rumored wearable will feature a raft of cutting-edge features, including a comprehensive selection of health apps for measuring heart rate, activity, nutrition, sleep, and more.

The bad news? You won’t be able to slip one on your wrist until sometime early next year, when the Apple Watch is slated to go on sale.

Watch this space for Apple Watch news.

2. Fitbit

Fitbit bands
Fitbit bands

Fitbit bands. (US CPSC/Flickr)

The Fitbit has become virtually synonymous with “fitness tracking gadget,” a big reason why it’s the second most popular wearable among the Yahoo faithful, far outdistancing all but the Apple Watch.

But 2014 has been a rough year for the 7-year-old company. Multiple complaints about skin irritation caused by its Force activity tracker forced Fitbit CEO James Park to issue a public apology and a full product recall last February. (The company says fewer than 2 percent of customers reported getting a rash.) A new device with a built-in heart rate monitor, rumored to be called the Fitbit Charge, may help the company regain its step.

Find out more about Fitbit here.

3. Nike FuelBand

Nike FuelBand
Nike FuelBand

The Nike FuelBand. (Peter Parkes/Flickr)

Another device with a long track record registered a solid No. 3 in Yahoo searches. First introduced in 2012, the wireless calorie and step counter accounted for 10 percent of all fitness gadgets sold in 2013. The Nike FuelBand SE is still available via the Nike site and e-tailers like Amazon. However, last April CNET reported that Nike was halting development of future FuelBands to concentrate on fitness apps, most likely those that would support the Apple Watch and Google Wear-based products.

More news about Nike FuelBands is here.

4. Garmin Vivofit

Garmin Vivofits in five colors
Garmin Vivofits in five colors

The Garmin Vivofit. (Melies The Bunny/Flickr)

Clocking in at No. 4 was a relative newcomer: the Garmin Vivofit. This wristband’s most unique feature is its battery life; Garmin claims that the device can run 24/7 for a full year between charges. The waterproof Vivofit measures steps, distance, and calories, displaying your progress on a non-backlit LED. Another cool feature: It will automatically adjust your daily goals upward if you consistently exceed them (and downward if you don’t).

Search for Garmin Vivofit here.

See more on Yahoo: Most Popular Tablets on Yahoo

5. Samsung Gear

Samsung Gear Fit watch
Samsung Gear Fit watch

The Samsung Gear Fit. (SamsungTomorrow/Flickr)

Landing smack in the middle of the pack is the Samsung Gear smartwatch. While the Gear comes in several varieties, Samsung offers two specifically aimed at fitness freaks: the sleek Gear Fit with its gorgeous curved AMOLED display, and the Samsung Gear 2, which offers a Personalized Fitness Manager that adapts to your workouts.

More news about Samsung Gear here.

6. Jawbone UP

Jawbone UP
Jawbone UP

The Jawbone UP. (Edgar Sorto/Flickr)

Along with the Fitbit and the FuelBand, the Jawbone UP has really defined the fitness wearables genre. These flexible wristbands measure sleep patterns as well as your daylight activity, and can function as intelligent alarm clocks, gently buzzing you awake at the optimal point in your sleep cycle. The latest models sync with your phone via Bluetooth and can work with smart home devices to wake up your house as well as you.

Get up to speed on the Jawbone UP here.

7. BodyMedia

Bodymedia FIT bands
Bodymedia FIT bands

BodyMedia FIT Bands. (Bodymedia.com)

Another early entrant in the fitness wearables market, BodyMedia armbands were among the first gadgets to directly measure motion, perspiration, and calorie burn. The company was acquired by Jawbone for more than $100 million in April 2013 but still markets its own line of FIT Bands. Trivia: BodyMedia was co-founded by Astro Teller, currently director of the Google X research lab, which is responsible for such “moonshots” as the self-driving car and Google Glass.

Boost your BodyMedia IQ here.

8. Garmin Forerunner


Garmin Forerunner. (Guccio/Flickr)

Meet the original fitness smartwatch. The first Garmin Forerunner was introduced in 2003, when the iPhone wasn’t even a glint in Steve Jobs’ eye. Garmin has released more than 20 models since, all of which upload GPS-driven fitness tracking data to your PC. The latest model, the touchscreen-based Forerunner 620, tracks your heart rate, measures cadence and ground contact, and calculates your recovery time.

Garner more knowledge about Garmin Forerunner here.

9. Misfit

Misfit Shine
Misfit Shine

The Misfit Shine. (Carlos Hergueta/Flickr)

The $100 Misfit Shine is one of the most stylish and feature-rich fitness and sleep trackers around. Last month the company introduced the Misfit Flash, which offers the same activity tracker for half the price by substituting a polycarbonate case for the Shine’s anodized aluminum. That likely accounts for the 27 percent increase in searches for Misfit over the past two months.

Here’s all the Misfit news that’s not fit to miss.

10. Pebble Smartwatch

Pebble Smartwatch
Pebble Smartwatch

The Pebble Smartwatch. (PhotoGiddy/Flickr)

The Apple Watch may be getting most of the attention, but it was the Pebble Smartwatch that got people excited about boosting their wristwear’s IQ when it debuted in 2012. The Pebble works with dozens of fitness apps to track steps, sleep, and heart rate. Last month the company announced that its hardware would be compatible with new apps from Misfit, Jawbone, and Swim.com — clearly hoping to recapture some mojo from the A-Watch.

Get smarter about the Pebble Smartwatch here.

Questions, complaints, kudos? Email Dan Tynan at ModFamily1@yahoo.com.