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Column: can Austin’s Atlas Wearables win the war for your wrist?

Omar L. Gallaga
ogallaga@statesman.com

In Tuesday’s print edition of the American-Statesman and on MyStatesman.com, you’ll find my Digital Savant column about Austin’s Atlas Wearables. Earlier this year, the company had a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign to create a fitness wristband called the Atlas. It can track specific exercises in workouts and is expected to ship to backers in the next few months and then hit retail sometime mid-next year. I first met up with Atlas a few months ago at Engadget Live and was impressed with what I saw in a prototype version of the wristband.

But can it compete with high-profile offerings from FitBit, Microsoft and even Apple? Is the market big enough for all these wrist gadgets?

Here’s an excerpt from the piece:

CEO Peter Li knows it’s stiff competition for his nine-person startup, Atlas Wearables, where he works out of a small set of office off Burnet Road in North Central Austin. But he also knows that the Atlas, which is about to begin manufacturing in China soon if all goes well, is not trying to overtake all of those players in the suddenly hot “wearables” market. “We’re not competing in the smartwatch world,” Li said. “We’re not trying to create a device that connects you to the Internet of Things.”

Devices like the Apple Watch, Samsung’s line of smart watches and Microsoft’s new Band can alert you to text messages, emails and even Facebook posts. Li’s company is selling the promise of enhanced fitness and better workouts through technology. “We’re trying to solve a much more specific problem,” he said. “It’s for people who sweat three or more times a week.”

You can read the full column here. Interested in checking out the Atlas? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.