Fitbit Unveils Next Generation Of Activity Trackers


Fitbit unveiled three new activity trackers today that extend its device capability beyond the traditional understanding of what a tracker should do, and into the smartwatch arena. Smartwatch makers are pressuring manufacturers like Fitbit to deliver more for much less, and with its latest round of devices Fitbit proves that it isn’t going to go down quietly. With Apple, Samsung, and Google quickly threatening to disrupt Fitbit’s primary revenue stream, the company was in need of a product unveil with the power to keep the wolves at bay, and today it may well have pulled it off.

First, the company unveiled the Fitbit Charge. At $129, the Charge captures basic health metrics such as steps walked, stairs climbed, and calories burned. Beyond this, the device also monitors sleep patterns, and wirelessly synchs with smartphones to push fitness data to the Fitbit app. The new Fitbit lineup also leverages this wireless smartphone link to display caller ID information for incoming phone calls. The Fitbit Charge goes on sale Monday, and is the only new product of the three that were announced that is production ready.

The Fitbit Charge HR is the next new addition to the product line, but unlike the Charge, the Charge HR will not be released for sale until sometime in 2015. For $149, this tracker brings everything the Fitbit Charge offers, but adds continuous heart rate monitoring that ensures that from a health perspective, the Fitbit can track anything that an Apple Watch can track.

Last, the Fitbit Surge is a complete revision of the Fitbit form factor. It is Fitbit’s first true smartwatch, and will retail for $249. The device tracks activity, heart rate, sleep patterns, and has a built in GPS to track distance travelled and elevation. It will offer SMS notifications and caller ID support, and boasts a very impressive one-week battery life.

The smartwatch market is just developing and has yet to even establish a real market demand with consumers. However, it certainly seems to be influencing the innovation agenda’s of many activity tracker makers lately, with companies like Fitbit and Basis adding smartphone integration features that likely would have been skipped otherwise. It should be interesting to watch these two product lines develop as the markets mature and eventually converge.

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