Philips introduces DirectLife activity monitor / fitness program

Well, we just finished putting the Fitbit activity monitor through its paces, but it looks like Philips has now come out with a strikingly similar device of its own -- which, like the Fitbit, promises to help you get more active by monitoring you all the time. From the sound of it, however, it seems that Philip's so-called DirectLife monitor has a few more tricks up its sleeve, not the least of which is a full-fledged fitness program complete with its own online personal coaches (who contribute to the $12.50 a month cost). The activity monitor itself also seems to have a few advantages over the Fitbit, including some LED lights that show your progress at a glance, and a built-in USB plug that eschews the need for a dock. Then again, it does still make use of nothing more than a basic accelerometer to monitor your activity, which isn't always the most foolproof option. It also packs the same $99 price tag as the Fitbit, but Philips will knock that down to $79 if you order this month, and even throw in a four-month membership for good measure.