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Hoping to make fitness fun for a larger group of users, Striiv is launching its iPhone step-counting app today.

striivThe Redwood City, Calif.-based company is trying to gamify health by motivating people to be more active. It launched a $99 fitness-measurement device last year that you can keep in your pocket. But the free iPhone app is likely to reach a much broader audience, said David Wang (pictured), the chief executive of Striiv, in an interview with GamesBeat.

The Striiv iPhone app can track steps taken during the day. It calculates the distance people have walked and the calories burned. Then, it takes that data and makes it more social. If you sync with your Facebook friends list or other Striiv users, you can see how your physical activity compares to theirs. You can try to achieve personal challenges, such as taking 200 steps in 15 minutes.

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“This is our second-generation solution,” said Wang.

The device uses an internal sensor in the phone so you no longer need extra hardware. If you want to buy the Striiv hardware device, you still can, as it has extra features, such as the number of stairs you have climbed during a day. The device has its own altimeter to calculate stairs climbed while the iPhone does not.

striiv 2You can open the app, glance at your stats, and play the MyLand fantasy role-playing game (pictured below). You can use the points that you earn from physical activity to spend on items in the game.

“The big difference between us and the others is that we are not just about tracking,” said Wang. “We are about motivation. We are trying to make fitness fun.”

If you achieve special tasks, like climbing the Statue of Liberty (374 steps), you can earn a trophy. The more challenges completed, the more energy you get that can be used in the MyLand game. You can enter your weight in the app, and if you do that, you earn energy points.

“It’s not about losing weight,” he said. “It’s about weight awareness. If you know your weight, you’ll make healthier choices during the day.”

Wang believes that the iPhone app will allow Striiv users to be more social. You can see if you can beat your friends’ personal bests and send them challenges to do a certain amount of activity in a given time.

“If you have a friend, you’ll be active much longer,” said Wang.

Wang hasn’t disclosed how well the original Striiv has sold.

The company was founded in 2010, and it has raised $7.5 million to date. Investors include Ronald Chwang of iD Ventures; Colin Angle, the founder of iRobot; Dado Banatao of Tallwood Ventures (a private investment); along with other angel investors.

Rival technologies include Basis, which makes a wearable wrist band that can measure your movement, heart rate, and perspiration. Other rivals are FitBit, Jawbone, and Nike.

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