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Photo: Oura

Oura is announcing the latest version of its fitness ring, which adds daytime and workout heart rate sensing, period tracking and other features.

Why it matters: The startup is competing against the giants of the tech industry in the form of the Apple Watch and trackers from Fitbit, which is now owned by Google.

Driving the news: The new version is more versatile than the earlier incarnations, which specialized mostly in sleep-related metrics.

  • One of the big additions is advanced period tracking. After two months of getting to know the user, the Gen 3 Oura ring offers predictions and notifications. Oura says it can accurately predict a user's next period 30 days in advance and sends alerts 6 days before it starts.
  • The heart-rate tracking can be used to measure both resting daytime heart rate and workouts.
  • A new red LED can measure oxygen saturation. A software update scheduled for next year will enable the feature.
  • Despite packing the new sensors and far more memory, Oura is aiming to keep the weight, battery life and hardware cost consistent with past releases.

Between the lines: Oura isn't just announcing a new ring; it's also adjusting its business model to add a subscription component.

  • Like a lot of companies, it is finding the need to augment the one-time revenue it gets from hardware and is adding a $6 per month subscription, with six months included with purchase of the new ring,
  • Those who already own an Oura ring can get a discount on the new version as well as a free lifetime subscription, which can also be applied to future generations.

What's next: Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai told Axios that the company is also exploring ovulation prediction and pregnancy detection. "That’s something that we are really excited about, to keep pushing the boundaries of health," Rai said.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

4 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.