Why I Love the Bia
This is the freshest, most original hardware design I’ve seen from a startup in a long time. It’s remarkable what the Bia team has built on a shoestring - it’s better in many ways than any other fitness watch out there - at any price.
There are a few things that really caught my attention. First, they divided the watch into two pieces - a chargeable clip that goes onto your waist, and a smaller, lighter watch that doesn’t require charging. The two connect to each other wirelessly, and work together as a functional unit. Second, by having a larger clip, the Bia team was able to integrate a larger battery and a cellular wireless connection.
To me, this is the essence of insightful design. Start with the true requirements - longer battery life, waterproof, useful when swimming, low cost - and then work from there with an open mind and no preconceived notions about the shape of the device. In this case, having an open design mind meant that they split the device in two, which was simply brilliant. I’ve been using this device for the last few days, and love how the separate clip makes the overall experience better than a clunky watch. The canted watch face is a nice differentiating touch, but not as functional in practice as I had anticipated.
Finally, by integrating a cellular radio, all of your workouts go to the cloud as soon as you hit “save” on the watch’s touchscreen. Which is easier than even using the Strava app directly on your iPhone. I also have to believe that a cloud-based service boosts end-user engagement after purchase. Why is that important? Because it leads to higher Net Promoter Scores, stronger word-of-mouth recommendations by users, and lower customer acquisition costs as a result. With persistent cloud connectivity, it’s a lot easier to push regular software updates as well.
One final point - it passed the “can I figure out how to use it without a manual?” test - which Soleus failed for me, and Garmin is only marginally better than Soleus. I think this is a piece of hardware that’s particularly well-suited for partnerships, unlike other wearables - due to the thoughtful hardware and branding design that sets them apart in a meaningful way in a crowded market.
I could go on and on. But the punchline is that it costs less than $300.