Digital News for Week of Jan 8

This week, we’re focusing on mobility as we discuss why fitness trackers could be the perfect answer to your New Year’s resolution, taking a look at Toyota’s city of the future and the Facebook feature that is moving on after a two-year test run. Let’s jump right into this week’s tech news.

Get Moving with Fitness Trackers

This one may be less “tech news” and more of a timely update. If you’re like many people across the country, your resolution was to up the ante a bit when it comes to physical activities. Whether you’re focused on increasing mobility with a gentle jog or doing some hardcore marathon training, a fitness tracker may be your best bet for reaching your goals. Besides logging all of your steps and your heart rate, newest models are waterproof, will help track your sleep patterns and even check your blood pressure.

Better still, there’s a tracker for every budget. On the lowest end of the scale, the Xiaomi Mi Band 2 clocks in at about $30. It’s waterproof, will remind you when to workout and will even pair with your smartphone, letting you know when you’ve received a text or call.

The Apple Watch Series 3 sits at the upper end of the range and in addition to a slew of wellness tracking and coaching features, now offers built-in cellular. Users can make calls and send texts without their iPhone nearby. Because iMessage is included, you can even send a Legacy Parks sticker while you’re out enjoying the great outdoors.

See CNET’s three favorite fitness trackers for every budget

Toyota’s Moving City

This week also marks the beginning of the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, and one big unveiling has certainly grabbed our attention. While much of the talk has been around self-driving cars, Toyota is taking its mobility dream one step further.

e-Palette is a large, electric cube that easily converts into a ride-sharing vehicle, mobile office, hotel room, restaurant or store. It’s being billed as “moving city” and effectively blurs the lines between ecommerce and brick-and-mortar shops.

See the Toyota e-Palette unveiling in this video from CNET.

“M” is Moving On

Since we’re on the topic of moving, let’s turn our attention to Facebook, who’s moving on from their M personal assistant service. Launched in 2015 to beta users, “M” was billed as concierge feature for Messenger that would take care of just about any request, from booking a hotel room to answering users’ questions.

What differentiates “M” from competitors like Alexa and Siri is that many of the requests were fulfilled with actual humans working behind the scenes. Facebook is officially shutting it down on January 19, but may transition “M” into more of a traditional AI feature for Messenger users.

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