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Long awaited Jawbone UP3 starts shipping April 20, but with lower water resistance

The Jawbone UP3, a fitness tracker its maker says is so comfortable you’ll want to keep it on day and night, will start shipping on April 20 to customers who’ve pre-ordered. All of these orders should go out by mid-May, the company said Thursday, while new orders submitted from now onwards will ship once the initial pre-orders have been taken care of.

The company’s fitness-oriented, sensor-laden wearable was announced back in November, and was supposed to start shipping by the end of the year, but a problem with the device’s resistance to water scuppered the plan. In a blog post Thursday, Travis Bogard, the company’s vice president of product management and strategy, apologized for the delay before setting out in detail why the timetable for launch hadn’t quite gone to plan.

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Apology

“When we announced UP3 late last year we were confident we would start mass production of the device and begin shipping within a few weeks of the announcement,” Bogard explained in the post. “However, as we began to scale our manufacturing process it became clear that, while most units passed our high quality bar, a proportion did not. Specifically, we were not achieving the level of water resistance we had passed in the design and initial production stages.”

He added that the original plan had been for an advanced multi-sensor product that “defied industry standards” with water resistance of up to 10 meters. However, following extensive testing, Bogard said the company has been “unable to guarantee 10 meters of water resistance for all UP3 units,” adding that the UP3’s water resistance capabilities are now “comparable to, and in line with, most other multi-sensor trackers.”

Splashes, showers OK

In other words, it can cope comfortably with water splashes and even showers, but you can forget diving into a swimming pool with it. For those who ordered the device on the basis that it would be suitable for full submersion, Bogard said there would be no issue if they wanted a refund.

Using its own sensor platform, Jawbone was able to design the UP3 as its smallest and lightest tracker to date. Despite its size, the device offers a decent seven days of battery life, and can track not only your heart rate but also respiration rate and skin conductance. Leave it on overnight and each morning it’ll also present you with a bunch of sleep stats.

Jawbone’s $180 gadget comes with a one-size-fits-all clasp-equipped band, which includes the touch-sensitive central unit. Collected data is sent to Jawbone’s Smart Coach software, which helps you to work out different ways to improve your health.