Part 1 - Market survey
To have a screen or not to have a screen, that is the question in the connected fitness hardware world. Having a screen can make the device feel more premium and self contained, but it also adds cost, bulk and a long-term maintenance tail. So if you are planning to make a piece of connected fitness equipment, likely as part of some type of subscription service, should you do it?
In this first part of a two part series, we’re going to take a look at a big slice of the connected fitness market to see if there are any trends. Then in the second article, we will talk about the positives and negatives of integrating a screen into a connected fitness device.
Note that almost (if not) all connected fitness hardware devices that have a touchscreen are running some version of Android, because it was designed for a touch experience from the ground up, and it’s free as well as (mostly) open source (excluding Google’s Play libraries, which you don’t really need in a self-contained environment). A typical user may not know that the operating system is Android, because the OS is often heavily customized and just used as a platform (like on Peloton hardware).
Due in large part to Peloton, most connected bikes do have screens:
- Peloton: The original Bike has a 21.5” (inch) touch screen, and the Bike+ has a 23.8” touch screen. The Peloton screen runs Android v7 on quad core ARM processor (more powerful in the Bike+). Thought originally starting at $2,245, today the Bike is $1,195 and the Bike+ is $1,995.
- Echelon: The lowest cost bike at $899 has a slot for an iPad, but no screen of its own. The mid level EX-5s-10 at $1,199 has a 10” embedded tablet, while the flagship EX-8s at $2,299 has a 24” curved screen tablet on the bike.
- NordicTrack: Even their lowest cost bikes such as the Studio Bike 1000 ($999) have a 10” touchscreen display, and on the high end the S27i Studio Bike at $2,299 has a 27” touch screen.
- Bowflex: Their VeloCore Bike has an embedded console in two sizes 16” ($1,799) and 22” ($2,199). The lowest cost bikes are the C7 Bike (7” console) and C6 Bike (basic console LCD screen) both at the same cost $799.
- MYX: The MYX II has a 21.5” HD Swivel Tablet and costs $1,399.
- SoulCycle: The At-Home Bike has a 21.5” touchscreen, it’s currently $1,900.
- Technogym: A display screen at 22” comes in at $3,185 (though this includes a year of membership).
- Carol Bike: Essential Bike Bundle has a 10.1” touchscreen console, it’s currently $1,995. The Carol bike claim to fame is its very intense and short sprint works with auto resistance adjustment to maintain cardio fitness.
- ProForm: The Studio Bike Pro 22 at $1,299 comes with a 22” HD touchscreen.
- Stryde: Bike comes with an integrated 21.5” HD tablet that runs Android and comes pre-installed with Stryde app, browser and several other Android apps. Includes, 2 speakers, 3.5mm headphones port and Bluetooth connectivity. It has 16GB internal storage, 2GB Ram and Quad-core MediaTek MT8167A processor.
- Assault Fitness: A different type of bike designed for brief bursts of HIIT cardio, none of the bikes have a tablet - they all have an old school console with Bluetooth and ANT+ connectivity. Prices range from $749 to $1,299.
- Zwift: An oddity here in this list, Zwift has been only software since inception - it flirted with creating a hardware bike, but then canned it. Zwift relies on third party connected bikes for members to ride on, like the Wahoo Kickr and Tacx Neo, also various bike trainers for road bikes. In general, very few of these have screens on them, instead relying on the user running Zwift on his or her laptop or (with less great graphics) a connected TV device.
- Stages: The stages SB20 Smart Bike Indoor Trainer is at $3,150, but it has a tablet or phone holder, not a screen on the bike. None of their bikes have screens - their SC1 to SC3 for spin studios have list prices ranging from $2,375 to $3,375. They are really designed for Zwift and other semi-pro bike apps, and then in studio people are looking at the coach.
- Wahoo: The KICKR costs $3,800, and does not have a screen, but similar to the Stages bike its target audience is Zwift and other pro cycling app users - the bike itself is designed to be more similar to a pro road bike, not a spin bike.
- Garmin: The Tacx NEO bike again has not got a screen and weighs in at $3,200. Similar to the KICKR, it’s designed for Zwift and similar app users.
In general then, the vast majority of connected bikes have tablets today.
There isn’t a clear pure play leader in treadmills as there has been in at-home connected bikes.
- Peloton: Both treads have a touch screen, the original had Android 7 running on a quad core (ARM) processor, the new one has Android 9 running on an octa core processor. Its current treadmill has a 23.5” touchscreen, and costs $2,345. Peloton was late to the treadmill game, unlike its bikes, which really defined the category.
- Echelon: The Echelon Stride-5s smart treadmill starting at $2,500 has a 24” class HD touchscreen, while the Echelon Stride-s featuring a 10” HD touchscreen is at $1,600, and Echelon Stride Treadmill with built-in smart device holder is priced at $1,300.
- NordicTrack: They have two Commercial Treadmills, the New Commercial 2450 - 22” ($2,499) and the New Commercial 1750 - 14” ($1,899). The EXP 7i at $1,099 is the cheapest treadmill they currently include in their lineup, and it has a 7” touchscreen. They have three Incline Treadmills, New Commercial X22i with 22” tilt & pivot HD touchscreen ($3,999), Commercial X22i with 22” smart HD touchscreen($2,999) and Commercial X32i with 32” smart HD touchscreen ($3,999). The third category is EXP Series- EXP 14I with 14” HD smart touchscreen ($1,899), ELITE 1000 with 10” smart HD touchscreen ($1,499) and EXP 7I with 7” HD smart touchscreen ($1,099).
- Bowflex: Treadmill T22 with a 21.5” screen ($2,699), and the T10 with a 10” screen ($1,799).
- ProForm: Pro Series - Pro 9000 - 22” ($1,799) and Pro 2000 - 10” ($1,499). Carbon Series - Carbon T10 - 10” ($1,403), Carbon T14 - 14” ($1,499) and Carbon T7 - 7” ($999), all have smart HD touchscreens. City Series - City L6 at $599 with no tablet.
- Horizon: Go Series - T101 at $649, T202 at $799 and T303 at $1,099, all come with old style LCD screens, and do not have embedded tablets. The 7.0 AT to 7.8 AT have prices from $999 to $1,999 and don’t have embedded tablet screens either.
- Sole: Sole F63 ($1,099.99), 6.5” LCD display and no tablet included. F65 ($1,499) and F80 ($1,699) also have LCD displays. The F85 ($2,099) does have a 10.1" TFT Touch Panel with Android, so does the ST90 ($3,700), the TT8 ($2,600) and the S77 ($2,099) - all with the same 10.1” touch screen.
- Assault Fitness: Both the AssaultRunner Pro ($2,999) and the AssaultRunner Elite ($3,999) do not have tablets or screens. The Elite Console looks old school, and has Bluetooth as well as ANT+ connectivity for expansion.
Connected treadmills are behind bikes in adoption of tablets. This is in part strange, but the category hasn’t seen the same shakeup that Peloton inflicted on the at home bike ecosystem.
A diversity of options here, but many have giant screens as a core part of the offering:
- Tonal: Comes with a giant screen - width 21.50” and height 50.9” - currently $2,995 (plus accessories).
- Forme: The Studio at $2,495 has a 43” (diagonal) super high definition (2160 x 3840) screen. It has options
- Tempo: Tempo Studio at $2,495) has a 42” HD touchscreen, but recently Tempo launched the Tempo Move at $495 that doesn’t have a screen and uses a smartphone casting to a TV.
- OxeFit: XS1 SPECS has a 32" Touchscreen at $3,999, while the XP1 has 43” touchscreen (price not mentioned, but it’ll be a lot).
- NordicTrack: The Fusion CST Studio ($2,495) has a 10” HD Tablet, as does the Fusion CST ($1,999).
- Speede: Similar to the OxeFit, it has an embedded screen, but is light on the details (screen size and price).
- Vitruvian: $2,495 (Trainer & package), requires the Vitruvian App to function, doesn’t come with a screen.
- Arena: Similar to the Vitruvian in form factor, Arena’s strength device doesn’t have a screen either, costs $2,999.
- JAXJOX: Their InteractiveStudio (with all the smart dumbbells and weights) has a 43” 4K embedded TV, likely running Android, and costs (list price) $2,499. The Kettlebell Connect 2.0 ($249), Dumbbell Connect ($299) and Foam Roller Connect ($99) are all available separately without any screen.
- Altis: It’s not launched yet, but does not come with a screen, and instead relies on the user casting to TV, similar to Peloton’s strength offering and the Tempo Move. No pricing announced as yet.
- Peloton: The Guide from Peloton is $295, it uses AI to track you but doesn’t come with a screen - it casts to your TV.
- Technogym: Technogym Bench ($1,850.00), It combines elastic bands, hexagon dumbbells, weighted knuckles and a training mat in a compact footprint, but has no embedded screen or any data connectivity.
There’s a good ecosystem of connected rowing machines, ranging from $600 up to $2,500, with most of the higher end models having embedded touchscreens.
- Hydrow: Probably the most famous (or at least the most funds raised) of the connected rowing machines, right now it’s $2,495 and it has a 22” touchscreen.
- CITYROW: There are two options, the Classic Rower comes with a phone attachment and costs just $1,000, while a Max Rower priced at $1,495 has a 19.5” touchscreen.
- Concept2: The old school rowing machine, it has a performance monitor (PM5) with an old style LCD screen (and some retro video games that escaped from the 1980s), but doesn’t have a touchscreen with a modern operating system. The PM5 supports Bluetooth and ANT+ to connect with apps. The RowErg rowing machine costs $900.
- WaterRower: WaterRower makes some beautiful wooden rowing machines, but they typically have a basic performance monitor (A1 or S4) similar to the Concept2 rower. Pricing is $999 to $1,999.
- Ergatta: A connected rowing machine manufactured by WaterRower, it costs $2,199, and comes with a 17.3” touchscreen.
- Peloton: A new entrant to the connected rowing space, finally officially announcing its rowing machine in May 2022, there’s no pricing out yet. The Peloton rower has a giant screen, similar to the Peloton Bike+, and it’s going to be in the 21” to 24” screen size range, but again the full tech specs haven’t been announced yet.
- NordicTrack: From the RW600 at $999 to the RW900 at $1,799, all their rowers have touchscreens - from 10” to 22” in size.
- Echelon: Echelon currently has two rowing machines - the Row at $999 with no embedded screen (just a holder for a phone or tablet), and the Row-s at $1,599 with a 22” touchscreen.
- ProForm: The Pro 750R Rower with a tablet holder but no embedded screen is at $799, then the Pro R10 Power has a 10” touchscreen and is actually free (with a 3 year iFit subscription that costs $1,403).
- Whipr: A much lower cost device than most at just $596, it doesn’t have an embedded screen. It connects over Bluetooth to a phone app, using the FTMS data standard, and works with third party apps like Holofit.
- LIT Method: At $1,749 today, it has a phone or tablet attachment (and connect with a user experience on that device) but does not have an embedded tablet or screen today. They claim the device is also a reformed and a strength machine, but it sure looks like a rower.
- Aviron: Currently $2,149 or $2,399, they both have a 22” touchscreen.
None of the connected boxing systems have screens (perhaps partly because have a screen connected to something you keep punching feels like a bad idea):
- FightCamp: FightCamp Personal ($999) with punch trackers and bag. FightCamp Tribe ($1299) with punch trackers, access to expert trainers & on-demand workouts, etc. The lowest one is FightCamp Connect ($399), which comes with the punch tracker and quick wraps only. All require casting from the app to a TV (no embedded screen).
- Liteboxer: Floor Stand Packages - LiteBoxer Floor Stand Starter ($1295) and LiteBoxer Floor Pro ($1395), both don’t have a tablet. LiteBoxer Wall Mount Starter ($1095) and LiteBoxer Wall Mount Pro ($1195) also have no tablet, while the Liteboxer VR requires separate purchase of a Meta Quest.
- Aquabag: Sensor for Aqua Training Bag ($174), you have to pair with the Aqua Training Bag, it’s just a sensor and has no embedded screen - it relies on the mobile app for the user experience.
- DribbleUp: Smart Boxing Gloves current price is $75, connects with Dribbleup App, again relies on the phone and has no embedded tablet.
- Corner: Corner Trackers ($149) - similar to FightCamp and DribbleUp, it has no screen.
- Move It: Smart Boxing Gloves (120Z) current price is $34, they’re great folks and we know them, there’s no screen - just the gloves.
- McGregor Fast: FAST Training Gloves at $60 - again just the gloves, no screen.
- Impact Strap: The Impact Tracker ($179) is again a motion sensor for a boxing bag, not screen.
Kind of a variety of other connected fitness devices:
- Mirror: The Mirror ($1,295) with lens cap. Mirror essentials ($1,495) includes heart rate monitor. Mirror Pro ($1,595) includes heart rate monitor, fitness band pack and other accessories. All have a quad core processor and 43” full HD 1080p display - the display really is the key feature for Mirror, though interestingly it isn’t touchscreen (it’s controlled by the app on a smartphone or tablet).
- Fiture: Interactive Smart Fitness Mirror ($1,495) has a 43-inch high resolution screen, similar to Mirror.
- Echelon: Echelon has two fitness mirror clones - the Echelon Reflect at $750 that is controlled by a smartphone or tablet (it isn’t touchscreen) and has a 40” screen, and the Echelon Reflect Touch at $1,500 that is touchscreen with a 50” screen.
- CLIMBR: CLMBR Base ($2,799), Plus ($3,199), Peak ($3,299) & Summit ($3,399) all come with a 21” HD touchscreen.
- Sole: CC81 climber is priced at $1,900, doesn’t have an embedded screen.
- Reform RX: A whopping $4,995 list price for a connected reformer, is comes with a 21.5” touch screen.
- Flexia: Another connected pilates reformer, it costs $3,495 but you have to bring your own tablet.
- Frame: One more reformer, this one has a 24” touch screen, and costs $2,999 on pre-order.
- MaxPro: SmartConnect ($799), the Elite Bundle ($1,488) and MAXPRO Multi ($1,128) with bluetooth connectivity, they have no screen and tablet.
- BlazePod: BlazePod Kit starting from $299, you have to touch them fast to improve reaction speeds, no embedded tablet.
- Supernatural: Supernatural is a workout game for Oculus VR headsets (so no embedded screen). It costs $20 per month.
- FitXR: Similar to Supernatural, FitXR relies on the Meta Quest 2 starting at $299, and does not come with any other screen.
Most of the more expensive connected fitness equipment examples do have embedded tablet experiences now (though there are notable exceptions), and the vast majority if not all are using Google’s Android operating system (customized to hide the fact that it’s Android).
In part 2 of this set of blogs, we’re going to layout some considerations for anyone (like a boutique brand) thinking of manufacturing a piece of connected hardware, and whether to include an embedded tablet or not.