The evil of cloud based subscriptions

While visiting a local metal recycler last weekend, I saw a crate full of Fitbit clone devices.

Some were still brand new with the display plastic still on and they came alive when shook so I grabbed a handfull, just to play around with.


Turns out these Striiv activity trackers require a mobile phone app and cloud based registration, in order to track and save your activity stats. Only problem is the company closed down and took their servers offline and the mobile application is no longer available on any app stores. So these units instantly became totally useless, as they do not store any data locally.

At least I got the chance to open it up, to see what tech is inside.
Extreme miniaturization and small lithium batteries make this a very light unit.

The main Soc chip is a Renesys DA14681 Bluetooth low energy chip, with an amazing range of features. DA14681

Apart from just normal Bluetooth comms, this 6mm x 6mm chip is also the ARM Cortex processor that handles the cc/cv battery charging that can be programmed for Li-po, Li-ion, NiMH and Alkaline batteries, 2 x I2C busses for displays and a dc to dc buck converter. Lots of other features as well.

Some bored people have even gone as far as to re-program these for other purposes Reprog fitness tracker, but I have neither the time nor the patience to do this, so will throw these in a drawer for now.

Maybe someday I may need a tiny battery I can charge via USB …


I have a Fitbit Alta on my desk with a failed battery, showcasing many of the same extreme miniaturisation things you mention. It has a Cortex M4 if I am not mistaken. Between me and my Wife we’ve been through 4 different trackers in as many years (2 x Fitbit Alta, a Samsung Galaxy Fit, and now a Fitbit Charge 3 which is already showing some quirks). I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of fitness watches. I suppose they have a limited life, but if my cell phones can last 5 years, then I would expect my fitness watch to do the same.

(Should probably spend more money on one then… right? :slight_smile: ).

Not sure on the Alta, but these are a royal pain to open up, as the display was both glued and thermally welded in place and I basically destroyed the casing trying to open them up.

Planned obsolescence.

You may view electricity as a cloud based service as well :man_shrugging:t3: :rofl: And the utility cuts you off periodically according to their wallet status…


The Alta opens up fairly easily, without damage. There’s even some tutorials online on how to do it. A battery replacement can be done, but that requires carefully peeling the LCD to one side and removing a couple of microscopically-sized screws. I don’t miss it THAT badly. I simply went back to being bare-wristed, using my phone as a pocket watch.

If you ever want a replacement battery … :+1:

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I had a Fitbit Charge 2 that lasted about 4 years and then the battery did not last long enough to get me through the day. Wife’s one is going on olmost 6 years now.

I’m now on the Samsung Galaxy Fit for little more than 2 years and while the Fitbit was a much better tracker with better software, the Samsung has a nicer screen, battery last longer and at R700 vs R2400 is a better option for my budget.

@plonkster what type of exercise do you do that is so tuff on those trackers of yours. Must be boxing :grin: