Fitbit goes after Apple with new health smartwatch

29 August, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Ora Austin
  • Krales  The Verge

Interoperability is key for the Fitbit Ionic. It will be available in three different color options - silver gray tracker and clasp with blue gray band, smoke gray tracker and clasp with charcoal band, and burnt orange tracker and clasp with slate blue band.

Automatic exercise detection is probably the one feature I miss the most on the Apple Watch.

Ionic's convex designhelps hide the bulk of its hear-rate sensor. Ionic has an aggressive convex design that pushes the heart rate monitor into your wrist.

Fitbit fell to third place among wearables manufacturers in the first quarter of 2017, and the Ionic could make it viable again.

Once you're wearing it, Ionic functions like a supercharged Fitbit. On-board Global Positioning System (a feature available on Surge but not on Blaze) reduces your reliance on your phone. You can even see texts in between sets without having to get your phone out of your gym bag.

He also notes several other features, such as a "premium" subscription, for $7.99 per month, to receive "guidance and coaching", such as a library of workout routines.

Of course, smartwatches are also fashion statements, so there will be several alternative bands available for purchase, ranging from $30 to $60, in materials such as rubber and leather.

Park also touted the device's "industry leading" four days of battery life under typical day-to-day use conditions. Extra sensors embedded on the underside of the device allow the Ionic to estimate changes in oxygen in the blood over time. Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNZ, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

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Visually the Fitbit Ionic isn't terribly attractive.

Apps available at press time included Pandora, Strava, AccuWeather and Starbucks, among others, and additional apps will launch when the Ionic becomes available in October.

The Ionic is an ambitious and necessary move for Fitbit, as demand is clearly waning for stand-alone fitness trackers, at least in the U.S. The product category is still growing in China, where Xiaomi has been enjoying success with low-priced fitness trackers, but Fitbit doesn't really play in the Chinese market.

It's fully waterproof to a depth of 50 metres, so you can track your swimming, with the Ionic keeping track of your laps and exercise duration. It is also the first Fitbit device to offer contactless payments with Fitbit Pay and on-board music with 2.5 GB of storage.

But it doesn't just have to be songs that you own.

Requires Pandora Plus or Premium subscription, available in the US only. The company also revealed its new Flyer wireless headphones, which are meant to be go hand-in-hand with the Ionic.

With a sizable earpiece and a neck cord, Flyer isn't almost as diminutive as AirPods, but I found them comfortable enough to wear. With Fitbit Pay, Visa and Fitbit are meeting demand amongst the majority of wearable owners who, according to the recent "How We Will Pay" survey* by PYMNTS and Visa, see the opportunity for wearables to improve the way they pay throughout their day with a more secure and seamless cashless payment experience. It has brighter display and a slimmer design, and will work in conjunction with Ionic to create a complete picture of your health.

The Fitbit Ionic will be available at major Canadian retailers, including Amazon.ca, Best Buy, Indigo, Sport Chek and Sports Expects, starting in October 2017. There's also a special edition Fitbit Ionic + Adidas version coming in 2018.

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