Company makes watches that reward you for workouts

A startup called Switch2Health aims to bring wristbands that track daily exercise to the masses

How much would you work out for $10?

A growing startup based in New Jersey is selling a line of devices that use tiny motion detectors to track how much wearers exercise, then provide reward codes that can be redeemed toward prizes online.

Switch2Health currently sells a wristwatch and pedometer, and online prizes include US$10 gift cards for Macy's, Target and iTunes. The company presented Wednesday at DEMO Asia, a conference this week in Singapore that aims to give startups exposure to venture capitalists and media.

Its devices are part of a growing armada of portable health trackers designed to be worn constantly, including wristbands from Nike and Jawbone as well as a clip-on device called the Fitbit Tracker. Their major selling point is that they're much cheaper than the competition.

While Nike's Fuelband costs $125 and the Fitbit device runs $100, the S2H wristband is $25. It lacks some of the more advanced features of rivals' devices, like syncing with phones or computers or a fancy display, but the company feels a simpler device can keep costs down.

"The low price point enables regular individuals, as well as fitness enthusiasts," said Goutham Bhadri, a company vice president.

Bhadri said the company has sold "tens of thousands" of the wristband since it was launched two years ago, and is currently negotiating a major deal in a North American country.

The wristband and a similar pedometer device are sold online in the U.S., parts of Europe, Australia and South Africa. They are also marketed directly to companies for corporate health efforts along with online tracking and competition for $76 per employee annually, and have been adopted by Starbucks and other firms.

Bhadri said Switch2Health broke even in 2011 and aims for $3.5 million in profit in 2013.

One of the principal producers of DEMO Asia is IDG Enterprise, a subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), which also owns the IDG News Service.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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