By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm
At last September’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, a startup called Lark unveiled Lark Up, a $99 wristband “un-alarm” that vibrated to wake you up, thereby avoiding disrupting anyone else who happened to be in bed with you. It came with a charging station that let your phone double as a bedside clock. And…it never shipped. Instead, the Lark folks found additional funding for their idea and decided to fast-forward to what would have been their second-generation upgrade. That version–called just plain Lark–was announced (re-announced?) at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York today, and will soon go on sale at Apple Store retail locations, which are adding health and wellness sections.
The new version of Lark retains the silent alarm feature, but it’s beefed up features for monitoring your sleep patterns, incorporating input from a Harvard instructor who studies sleep and making it more of a direct competitor to a gizmo called Zeo. The wristband transmits data back to your phone via Bluetooth, letting you can use your phone to log when you feel asleep, when you woke up, and just how restful (or restless) your slumber was. And a Lark Pro version provides you with a more detailed analysis of your sleep habits based on seven days of data, with advice about how to improve them.
The included dock recharges the wristband and lets you prop up your iPhone or iPod Touch as a clock. It doesn’t include a dock connector, but there’s a USB port in back that lets you charge your device by plugging in your own cable. It’s an Apple-only setup at the moment, but an Android version is in the works.
Lark now sells for $129 rather than the original planned price of $99; Lark Pro, with the seven-day sleep assessment, is an optional upgrade that brings the total price to $189. That feels a bit high–it certainly takes it out of impulse-purchase territory–but it’s in line with Zeo’s $199.
Of course, if Lark delivers on its promise of helping you and your bedmate rest easier on an ongoing basis, it would be a bargain. How does it perform? I have a review unit and plan to do the seven-day analysis so I can find out for myself.