Get On Trac: Puma launches new running app

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Do you reckon you run faster on a sunny day? Or that Iron Maiden will always be champions of the definitive early morning run soundtrack? Perhaps you believe you’re at your physical peak during a full moon?

Well it’s time to put these theories to the test with Puma’s new free iPhone app Pumatrac. Thankfully, it’s a hell of a lot more useful than the brand’s previous app Puma Social. Launched almost exactly a year ago, Puma Social was a tool to help grease the wheels of post-game camaraderie, eschewing the brand’s more wholesome virtues in favour of booze-soaked social bandwagon jumpery. Yawn.

Mercifully Pumatrac sees the company go back to what they know best; sports. Running to be precise. And they’ve come up trumps. Like all running apps, the main premise is a training tool that tracks your distance, route and speed. However, here’s the interesting twist; it also takes other elements into account such as your soundtrack (as long as you’re listening to music from the same smart device) the weather, the altitude, the time, the season and even the moon cycle.

Sound gimmicky? Maybe a tiny bit, but they’ve utilised the functionality really well; all these additional elements and conditions are taken into account to provide you with new running stats other apps can’t give you. Such as which soundtrack helps you reach your top speeds. Or the days of the week you execute your best run. And yes, whether you’re at your physical peak best during full moon or not.

The idea is to help inspire you on those all-too-common rainy days when running seems like a bigger chore than doing your tax returns while doing the post Sunday roast dishes and the weekly ironing. As time goes by the app will learn your personal preferences and suggest training sessions that actually suit the conditions. Who knows? Perhaps you actually run faster and train more efficiently in the rain. In this sense it’s the app that keeps on giving; rather than spitting out the same old stats, it constantly evolves, providing you with insights about your training as you run through different seasons, times of the day and playlists.

Check out this promotional video from Puma which shows the product in a little more detail:

Egging you on with notifications that are cheery but not cheesy, it’s user-friendly and fully socialised. There’s also a neat option of adopting new running routes saved by other Pumatrac users. And, of course, a chance to shout about your stats on all the popular social platforms. Released just a week after Adidas and Nokia announced their forthcoming, intuitive miCoach app, it seems sports brands are rebooting their smart device presence with some really interesting solutions. It’s about time.

Solar-powered Puma Phone pouncing into shops

Gadgets are generally not known for their eco credentials, with many coming across as beautiful but evil pieces of technology designed to seduce the human race into eliminating the earth’s natural resources.

However, every now and then something comes along that is a little kinder to the planet but still manages to function well and look good. Step forward the new Puma Phone, a joint venture between Puma and Sagem Wireless. It’s a smartphone with entertaining features wrapped up in a glossy exterior – that just happens to be charged up using solar power.

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Obviously, if you want to get the best of the solar panel, you need to be outside. Luckily, there are a few features that will encourage a bit of outdoor activity. In the spirit of the Puma brand, the phone has a pedometer, a stopwatch, a GPS tracker to trace a running or cycling route and a bike speedometer. There’s even a compass in case you happen to get lost in a forest or when heading out to the open seas.

When the rain starts coming down, you can stay indoors and play with the phone’s ‘spin and scratch’ music player instead – a good, silly feature that sums up this phone’s cheeky attitude. There’s even an on-demand puma called Dylan that you can call up whenever you like, if that’s your thing.

Aside from the fun stuff, the phone has a strong set of basic features, including a 2.8-inch touch screen and 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash. There’s also internet access, video calling, Bluetooth photo sharing and an integrated FM radio.

The solar power on this phone hints at the importance Puma is placing on greener issues, and this is being carried through to the development of new packaging for its sportswear. The ‘Clever Little Bag’ is a reusable shoe bag that protects new shoes all the way from the factory to your house.

Less packaging means less raw materials, reduced weight, lower fuel consumption during transportation, and no need for plastic bags on purchase. Puma’s clothes are also being given a packaging makeover, being bagged with sustainable material instead of polythene.

Overall, this phone is a good-looking smartphone with some fun features and useful sports tools. And the fact that it can be topped up with a little bit of sunshine while you’re out and about can only make for a happy gadget. Available from April 2010.