The first android phones started rolling out on the T-Mobile system not too long ago, perhaps more widely knowm as the google phone. Android is the operating system the T-Mobile G1 runs under, and its almost open source, thus why I refer to such as android phones.
Whats cool, is the ability to write your own apps, and the easy of entry for one skilled in software is pretty low. No hoop jumping to get in the google store, unlike the Iphone. And thats what makes this all pretty amazing… if one has an idea, its easy to throw it out there, and see what sticks. Even the average software guy with an idea can run with a google phone application pretty easily.
So here we go with the pedometer part. The andriod os provides for access to the phones GPS and motion sensors, plus it has the ability to send data. Now, whats cool is, one could use the motion sensor/gps combo to determine whether one was walking, running, on a bike or in a car etc. No more errant 50000 step days like occur with many pedometers if worn while driving on rough roads. Even cooler, talk about a great way to do caloric burn calculations including data on the type of activity. Even niftier, one could integrate google maps, and take the gmap pedometer to the next level and then some. Some type of social meetup functionality, for group runs and motivation could also be added, all under the android os, or even going further, a scheduler type program based upon some type of goal setting, perhaps even live coaching and feedback for runners. Then throw in todays economy, where few have any money to spend, adding optional pedometer functionality to a phone one already has is a win win for all. The Apple Iphone already has this in a sort of limited way… but the key are all the additional features made possible by a open design, as contrasted with Apple’s closed and much more tightly control model.
Revenue wise… processing group data, motivational stuff, coaching, and crowed meetups, would need to be done on a server no doubt, as running the GPS and motion sensors with a high duty cycle would be hard enough on the phones battery alone, apart from the fact, its a phone, not a dedicated computing device. In addition, server side processing lends itself to fairly easy monetization via advertising, or one could even add a subscription model in order to provide more detailed reports/coaching. Lastly, in order to reduce the potential of the andriod pedometer becoming an orphan like the old sport brain, include dedicated software as well. One could include a open source desktop application for user to capture and review their exercise data in a much simpler and lower tech way than the server based solution.