Today, Misfit – makers of the Shine fitness tracker – announced the release of its developer toolkit, providing a new way for other companies to jump into the activity tracking game. The release of the developer toolkit creates new potential for Misfit to find its way into a wide range of consumer products or projects.
Misfit explained three avenues for other companies to use the toolkit: the Misfit Cloud API, which “enables users to access their Misfit data through third party applications”; the Misfit Device SDK, which “allows direct connection and sync capability with Misfit hardware”; and the Misfit Scientific Library, which “allows access to Misfit’s proprietary sensor algorithms and analytics for software and hardware product makers.”
This move would seem to give Misfit a number of options to stay relevant in the face of the onslaught of new wearable devices, many of which were announced this week at IFA in Berlin. Meanwhile, Apple is said to be showing off its iWatch at a massive press event next Tuesday. Between Apple, Google’s Android Wear, and a seemingly never-ending stream of new wearable tech devices being announced every other day, Misfit may survive by straddling the line between making gadgets and helping other OEMs make their own activity tracking wearable devices.
Indeed, it’s difficult to determine just what exactly Misfit is doing these days. Some signs – like its recent partnerships with Beddit and Pebble – indicate that it’s simply leaving the hardware field, focusing instead on creating software solutions for other companies interested in activity and health tracking. On the other hand, just this month Misfit named former iPad engineer Josh Banko as the new Vice President of Hardware – a move that certainly signifies high hopes for new hardware initiatives.
So which is it? The release of the developer toolkit may show that it’s both. Misfit seems to know it can’t win the wearable wars on its own, so if it can establish itself as a top name in activity tracking software, other smaller OEMs can work with them to compete with the big guns. Meanwhile, the exposure that Misfit will earn by having its brand logo on throughout the wearable world can help its own hardware products earn more recognition and cachet.
Rather than trying to compete on the same level as Apple and Google, Misfit may end up finding success by simply changing the nature of the competition. Before too long, we may see Android Wear or iOS gadgets featuring logos proclaiming “Powered by Misfit.”