Folks who exercise have a new reason to consider a Windows Phone 7 handset today: RunKeeper just launched for Microsoft phones. The software uses GPS to track activities, capture useful data and create maps. Already on iOS and Android, RunKeeper has surpassed 5 million downloads.
RunKeeper Pro’s move to a permanently free model last month signaled a bigger shift for the company as it moves beyond its roots as a running app and branches out to a wider audience across a multitude of connected devices.
I’m probably more comfortable sharing my work with other people; I also tend to share information about other parts of my life online. Occasionally, I like to step back and think about how much is too much when it comes to sharing details about my life.
As part of the company’s continuing attempts to move beyond the “check-in,” Foursquare has announced a partnership with the app RunKeeper that allows users to win badges based on a range of achievements, and Foursquare’s CEO says the company is also testing a recommendation service.
Timed perfectly with the Boston Marathon is today’s launch of RunKeeper for Android. I use this app to track my workouts and have them automatically mapped online for a training history. There’s even a live broadcast feature so friends and family can “watch” you move.
Radio chips and sensors under mats are an old-school way to broadcast race information when running. Now you can use the GPS in your phone and RunKeeper’s new Live service to share your race or exercise data. And it works for any non-stationary exercise.
I’ve talked about the importance of fitness for web workers many times before. A side effect of spending our days working online is that most of our working hours are spent sitting in front of a computer, so we should make a special effort to fit some type of physical activity into our daily habits. Having software to track my progress makes a big difference in my motivation to work out. I like being able to see that I ran faster or further today than I did yesterday, which helps me to always try to work a little harder everyday to keep the trend lines moving in the right direction.
This week, I’ve been playing with the RunKeeper iPhone app (s aapl) to track my workouts. I wanted to play with something different to track my runs, and some friends have been using RunKeeper, so I thought that I would give it a try. RunKeeper has been around for a while, so it is only new to me, but I like it way better than I thought I would. Read More about Keep Track of Workouts With the RunKeeper iPhone App
It was one of the first, and it continues to be one of the most popular aerobic exercises tracking apps in the App Store. Raizlabs’ RunKeeper uses the iPhone 3G’s built-in GPS to track your progress during a workout, and provide you with a range of data based on your results. In addition to presenting your results on the iPhone, RunKeeper allows you to map and view your progress at runkeeper.com as well. It’s similar, overall, to the Nike+ system, but without the need for additional hardware.
Despite its name, RunKeeper is not just for running. The app allows you to select from a variety of physical activities. In addition to running, you can track hiking, bike riding, walking, or even skiing. All tracking activities require GPS, and as such the developer recommends that RunKeeper be used exclusively with the iPhone 3G, since results on the first generation iPhone or the iPod touch will be inaccurate.
RunKeeper tracks durations, distance, speed, pace, rise, and altitude data, and provides a map that shows your traveled path. I tested it using both running and walking modes. In both cases, initial pick-up of the satellites took a while, and readings were initially confused even after GPS positional data was acquired. Speed readings were way off, and changing directions (ie. turning left at a corner) resulted in an adjustment period during which the information did not accurately reflect reality.
Once a solid lock was established, however, and I’d been outside for a while, information was generally reliable. Inaccuracies might also have been due to my being located downtown in a large city, where skyscrapers often prevent a clear path to sky. Run tracking worked better than walk tracking, perhaps because running was, overall, a much more consistent and uninterrupted activity, conducted at a public park with a relatively clear skyline.
RunKeeper is a useful application if you need to keep track of your exercise info. For me, such detail isn’t really necessary, because I run casually just to keep fit and because I enjoy it. People training for marathons or doing other semi-competitive running will probably find the app more useful. Users should also be warned that RunKeeper prevents the iPhone from sleeping, and uses battery at an alarming rate. It’s a free download from the App Store, so if you’re looking for a Nike+ alternative to use with your iPhone, there’s no harm in giving RunKeeper a shot.