Challengers to the Runkeeper Pro app’s dominance in the fitness tracking app market

It should come as no surprise to readers of my blog that I love the iPhone app, Runkeeper Pro. This app goes with me each time I go out running and has helped track 300+ miles so far since I installed it in July 2009. I should add that other than being an avid user and a beta-tester for the app, I don’t get any kickback for being overly gushing about the app or anything else Runkeeper do!

However, I should admit to having a number of running-related apps on my iPhone including:

as shown on the screenshot below:

My iPhone running apps

However, the truth is that of these apps, a vast majority have never tracked a single run for me. That’s not to say they haven’t got some great features. But, for me at least, Runkeeper keeps delivering the features I need both within the app itself and within its website at Runkeeper.com.

Many of the apps listed above include some form of ghost running feature and this is what originally drew me to them.

For example, RaceYourPace automatically creates ‘routes’ and if you run them again will tell you how well you’re beating (or not) the previous run of that route. I’m confident that Runkeeper are working on a similar feature as I type this blog post though and I’m happy to wait for that (particularly given the recent addition of ‘Routes’ on their online service) and an informal tweet/Facebook post stating that Routes would be coming to the Pro app soon.

I took Runmaster out for a walk earlier and found some features useful. These already exist on my Runkeeper new feature wishlist though and include:

  • other map modes including hybrid and satellite
  • remote control via iPhone earphone clicker

Runtastic have just released a PRO version of their app (Runtastic PRO) which could be a real threat to Runkeeper. It’s pretty functional and includes two key features that aren’t currently in the Runkeeper Pro app:

  • Workout challenges – compete a particular distance in a defined time, meet a particular pace target (available in Runkeeper Pro), complete a particular distance, run for a defined time or burn X calories
  • Competitions – challenge yourself or friends
  • in-app graphs of speed/elevation etc

However, it (and almost all of the apps above) fail to provide some of the key features Runkeeper provides including:

  • training workouts – define interval based training workouts
  • breadth and depth of reporting available at Runkeeper.com and with FitnessReports
  • other cool features such as ‘Runkeeper Live’ (Tracking)

Of course, Runkeeper is only available on the iPhone platform at the time of writing. Google’s Android platform is becoming more popular and dominance could come from Runtastic and others providing apps for Android mobile devices, Blackberry etc. Runkeeper, however, are actively developing an Android version of Runkeeper which I suspect will be available in days rather than weeks. They are also looking for mobile developers with Blackberry development experience.

Runtastic are EU based and offer multi-lingual support (something Runkeeper hasn’t provided to date – but should) and I suspect that the number of active users is far below that of the US-based Runkeeper. This is apparent from their Tracks Map.

As detailed in other posts, the Runkeeper app isn’t perfect in my eyes yet and I’ve a list of new features I’d love to be added to it to make it closer to my idea of perfection!  However, I’m confident (based on past experience) that the team will continue to dominate the market of fitness tracking apps and having competition from the likes of Runtastic won’t allow them to rest on their laurels!

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