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Jawbone adds food-tracking to its wristbands

By Christina Farr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Jawbone, maker of wireless headsets and wristbands, is pushing a new food-tracking service it hopes will catch on with health-conscious weight-watchers.

In a move to grow its share of the nascent wearables market, the San Francisco-based company on Wednesday introduced new features to its main wearable gadget, called Up.

Jawbone Up users can now log food, water and assess the healthiness of foods, spokesman Andrew Rosenthal said. The app also offers a list of restaurant menus and a food library, making it easier for people to check calorie counts before placing an order. Those with a specific health and fitness goal in mind can use the app to track their progress.

The wristband also tracks metrics like steps taken and hours slept.

"Now, we can track the calories you consume and burn," said Rosenthal. The goal for the Jawbone system, he added, is to put "all this data in context."

Jawbone competes with rivals like Fitbit, which accounted for nearly half of the world's 2.7 million wearable band shipments in the first quarter of 2014, according to research firm Canalys.

Many industry executives expect Apple Inc to release an iWatch replete with health and fitness-tracking sensors.

Jawbone reportedly raised $250 million in venture funding last February. In April of 2013, Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer joined the company's board.

(Reporting By Christina Farr; editing by Andrew Hay)

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