Fitbit just unveiled its $200 answer to the Apple Watch — here's what it can do
- The $200 Fitbit Versa, announced on Tuesday, is Fitbit's second true smartwatch and the first geared toward a more mainstream audience — and smaller wrists.
- Fitbit Versa looks a lot like an Apple Watch — although it's a bit smaller — and is less fitness-focused than the watch Fitbit debuted last year, called Fitbit Ionic.
- The new Fitbit Versa still has plenty of fitness tracking capabilities built in, including on-watch workouts, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, and personalized fitness tips.
- Eventually, Fitbit says it might be able to track health issues like sleep apnea.
- Anyone who uses the Fitbit app, the Fitbit Versa, and last year's Fitbit Ionic watch can use Fitbit's new female-focused health-tracking tools.
- You'll be able to buy the watch on Fitbit's website and at stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Verizon, and Walmart.
Fitbit takes a second swing at smartwatches with the $199 Versa
- At a press event in New York City, Fitbit executives were covertly wearing the new smartwatches ahead of their keynote, and it was difficult to tell the devices apart from the Apple Watches attendees had been wearing until you start looking for a digital crown.
- The features aren’t particularly exciting, especially if you’ve been following Fitbit’s products for awhile, but they’re what you’d expect from a smartwatch trying to take a bite of the wearables market that continues to aggressively grow year over year.
- The question is whether the lower-priced Versa will help Fitbit regain some of its steam in the smartwatch market, having just ceded the title of number one US wearable maker to Apple and coming off a disappointing holiday earnings report.
Fitbit launches its first wearable for kids
- Fitbit has announced new wearables Fitbit Versa, which runs the upcoming Fitbit OS 2.0, and Fitbit Ace. Both are available for preorder today.
- Like the Ionic, Versa runs Fitbit OS, the company’s smartwatch operating system.
- Fitbit is also launching its first online simulator to let developers test their apps and clock faces for Ionic and Versa without having to buy a device.
- Fitbit claims the Ace “makes fitness fun for kids while inspiring the entire family to build healthy habits together and help fight decreasing levels of activity in children.” I cannot picture parents buying Aces for their kids, especially given that most parents today did not grow up with gadgets.
- Now it’s up to the marketing team to convince those lazy masses that these devices will motivate them to get fit.
Fitbit’s next smartwatch will probably look like this
- The company’s first true smartwatch was the result of multiple acquisitions and CEO James Park was talking up the device as a sort of lifeline for the struggle company.
- This time out, Fitbit promised a smartwatch with “more mass appeal.” A couple of days later, it seems we’ve already got our first glimpse at what it’s been working on.
- It’s a trap smartwatch makers fall into time and again, making devices that are just too large for many users.
- That’s a particularly sticky issue for a company like Fitbit with such a large female user base.
- The company smartly appears to have gone back to Pebble for some design inspiration this time out.
- While Fitbit bought the struggling smartwatch pioneer for the sole purpose of building out its new device, Pebble ultimately just served as the basis for the Ionic’s app development platform, rather than hardware design.