Can Fitbit’s $300 Smartwatch Compete With Apple?

Can Fitbit’s $300 Smartwatch Compete With Apple?

Fitbit Inc. will launch its long-awaited smartwatch in October to challenge Apple Inc’s Apple watch. Company shares were up 7 percent Monday in preparation of its fall offering.

The Ionic watch is a game changer when it comes to smartwatches because it separates smartwatches from smartphones. Benchmark analysts say this move will propel the smartwatch from a niche product to an in-demand gadget.

This move puts the Ionic watch in the hands of a bigger audience. The smartwatch isn’t limited to people who own a phone. You can use the Ionic watch without a phone, a move that is unprecedented considering you need to connect your Apple watch to your iPhone for it to work optimally.

Fitbit Ionic Watch News | Wearable Technology News and Reviews

Fitbit Inc. is poised to take more market share with an uncoupled smartwatch, mainly because of its focus on fitness and early leadership in wearables. The brand is the top seller of fitness trackers.

But FitBit Inc.’s growth hasn’t come without loss. The brand has been struggling financially in the past year. FitBit Inc. had a loss in each of the last three quarters after turning a profit in its first seven quarters as a public company.

Analysts say the launch of a smartwatch is the catalyst the company needs to turn around its fortunes just in time for the holiday season.

Wearable Technology News | Fitbit Ionic News

WHAT DOES THE FITBIT IONIC WATCH OFFER?

Visually speaking, the Ionic watch resembles every other FitBit Inc. product—sleek, modern and lightweight.

Some say it resembles an upgraded version of the Fitbit Blaze. Like the FitBit Blaze, the Ionic watch has a similar color touchscreen, notification support, and music control.

But that’s where the similarities end. The Ionic watch is a juggernaut.

It’s made up of a lightweight aluminum case, broken up by iPhone-like antenna lines for the GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. It has built-in GPS tracking, water resistance, swim tracking, and a third-party app platform.

Fitbit Inc. used a technology that’s normally reserved for smartphones to create the watch. The nano-molding technique fuses plastic and metal together in the watch body.

Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch News and Reviews
The navigation buttons are located on the right side of the screen, with a third found to the left side of the display. The watch comes in silver, grey, and orange. The display is a subtly curved glass lens with large bezels. Fitbit Inc. says the smartwatch’s resolution is sharp and colors are vivid with a brightness that maxes out at 1000 nits so you can see the screen even in direct sunlight.

FITBIT INC. PARTNERS WITH MILLENNIAL BRANDS

The San Francisco-based company, which went public in June 2015, partnered with four other companies in an effort to attract new consumers.

FitBit Inc. collaborated with Pandora Media Inc. so subscribers to Pandora’s premium services can listen to up to 300 downloaded songs without using their phone.

FitBit Inc. also partnered with Starbucks Corp. to feature its app.

FitBit Inc. is offering users something the Apple watch currently can’t—listening to music through Pandora and shopping without using your phone.

It gets better.

Without the phone, the Ionic watch lets you track your runs using Strava. You can use a weather app powered by AccuWeather. And if you need to make a purchase, payment is accepted through Fitbit Pay, which will soon add the use of cards issued through American Express, Visa and Mastercard.

WHAT DOES OS PLATFORM OFFER?

The OS Platform is FitBit inc.’s version of Apple’s iOS system.

The Ionic watch also runs on new software, the Fitbit OS, which FitBit Inc. says will become the core of its current and future smartwatch products. Fitbit Inc.’s OS will offer full support for third-party apps, with the brand creating products based on the legacy of Pebble, a smartwatch manufacturer the company bought in 2016.

FitBit Inc.’s OS platform gives developers full access to all sensors on the device, including heart rate, GPS, accelerometer and more.

Apps for the Ionic will live in a new menu item called the Fitbit App Gallery.

One of Fitbit Inc.’s native apps, FitStar (which it acquired in 2015) is now simply called Fitbit Coach; the company plans to roll out an audio service focused on running and walking programs, as well as a guided health program that will “expand dramatically” in the next year.

All of this is part of a larger effort to hook people into its software when the hardware itself is easy enough to ditch.

Fitbit Ionic | Wearable technology News

THE IONIC WATCH: YOUR NEW FITNESS COMPANION

The Ionic watch is built with fitness enthusiasts in mind.

Fitbit Inc.’s “PurePulse” heart rate sensor has been upgraded, and the company says it now tracks heart rate more accurately for activities like running and cycling.

A new tri-wave sensor on the bottom also tracks relative SpO2 (or oxygen saturation) to monitor oxygen levels in your blood, which the company plans to use for tracking new metrics in the future, including sleep apnea.

The Ionic also offers built-in GPS for tracking running or biking without requiring you to have your phone.

Fitbit Inc. claims the tracking on the Ionic is more accurate than on the Surge or any of its competitors.

There’s a new run detect system that can tell when you start and stop running and log that activity automatically.

And the Ionic is capable of the same automatic sleep tracking as various other Fitbit Inc. devices, too.

The Ionic watch can be used in a multitude of scenarios even when you’re swimming at a depth of 164 feet.

Wearable Technology News and Reviews | Fitbit Ionic Watch

It tracks your activity.

The watch has personalized, guided workouts with videos on screen and features heart-rate tracking, which Fitbit says has improved accuracy.

It is compatible with all phone operating systems.

The Ionic watch has a battery life of more than four days or up to 10 hours while using the GPS.

Alongside the watch, Fitbit Inc. is launching Bluetooth headphones, called Fitbit Flyer, for $129.95. It will also offer an updated version of its smart scale, with the Aria 2 also priced at $129.95.

The company will offer a special edition version of the watch, in partnership with Adidas, in 2018 that will pull in performance programs from the sportswear company.

The smartwatch retails at $299.95 an affordable option compared to the Apple Watch Series 2 which costs $269.

While the watch needs to be electronically tethered to a smartphone to access messaging and notification features


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