micke-midlife on January 14th, 2009

nokia-n79-active.gif click to enlarge

nokia has today launched an interesting package for people who are active and are on the lookout for a next mobile device right now. the nokia n79 active. as the “n” in n79 indicates, the device is part of the multimedia nseries line. and has a whole bunch of goodies by itself. the “active” package however is a really interesting combo on top of it. it includes the latest version of the sports tracker application pre-installed, a headset that’s supposed to remain in your ears when running (it comes in three different plug sizes), an armband/pouch so that you can wear the device while running and most important of all, a heart rate monitor belt made by polar! you find the total nokia n79 active data sheet here as pdf.

this is quite a step forward for nokia on this front. up to now the sports tracker was a quite well appreciated application that made interesting use of the in-built GPS, but only now with the heart rate monitoring it’s a credible value proposition for running (and other sports such as cycling and cross country skiing). the belt is actually connected through standard bluetooth to the n79, so when changing to another mobile device some time down the road, this solution is then fully transferable. however the belt isn’t sold by itself right now, only in the n79 active package (you can always look on ebay though, people check out the weirdest things there…). on the other hand you can install the sports tracker application on any S60 mobile device free of charge. the installation files for recent devices are found here. everything works except of the heart rate monitoring of course.

the sports tracker application on the device is one part of the story, the other one the sports tracker internet service that’s been in a beta version for quite a while now. the idea is to upload all the geotagged data after your session (including pictures, videos and playlists of songs you listened to) and share it with your friends and buddies there depending on user defined visibility permissions. the profile of our hero is totally open for your nosey inquiries, just look for micke-j.

so whose the target audience for the n79 active? judging from the sports tracker application and service, it’s more the casual health/fitness runner who’s looking to add a monitoring and social component to her/his active lifestyle, rather than the die hard competitive runner using the system to keep track of the 5×2000m, 10×1000m or 15×400m interval runs.

400days.net will have some real test reviews posted here very shortly, stay tuned!

part II: nokia n79, out of the box

part III: nokia n79 active, experiences of the nokia running man

part 3.5: nokia n79 active and polar s625x, becoming a humanoid

part IV: nokia n79 active, out for a test drive

Part V: Nokia N79 Active vs. Polar, Suunto, Garmin, Nike+ and Samsung miCoach