Fitbit Highlights Versatility in New $200 Smartwatch | Wearable Tech

By John P. Mello Jr.

Mar 14, 2018 2:29 PM PT

Fitbit on Tuesday added a brand new smartwatch to its wearables line with a pricetag of US$199.95.

The Fitbit Versa, which can attain global stores in subsequent month, would be the lightest steel smartwatch within the U.S. market. It features a new dashboard that simplifies the way in which well being and health knowledge is accessed on the gadget.

Versa mixes well being and health applications, resembling 24/7 coronary heart charge monitoring, onscreen exercises and computerized sleep-stage monitoring, with good options like fast replies on Android and on-device music.

Although the Versa’s working system is Fitbit’s proprietary OS, the smartwatch can connect with an Android cellphone by way of an app.

That units it aside from the Apple Watch, famous Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.

“That’s a good move when the Android Wear platform for smartwatches has some uncertainty surrounding it moving forward,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

It’s been reported that Google intends to re-brand Android Wear as Wear OS. Although Google hasn’t commented on the rumor, it has been steered the company could wish to distance Wear from Android, as a result of Wear runs on greater than Android gadgets.

Good Move

Versa’s introduction seems to be an excellent transfer by Fitbit, particularly given the tepid response by the market to its Ionic smartwatch final yr.

“The Fitbit Versa seems to be a much better offering than the Fitbit Ionic and will likely help the company to enter further into the smartwatch market,” stated Stephanie Lawrence, a analysis analyst at ABI Research.

“Updating the offering is likely to be good for the company,” she informed TechNewsWorld.

“It helps them become more well known as a smartwatch provider, and to develop more devices in the future with different features and prices,” Lawrence identified.

“I give it a thumbs-up,” stated Ramon T. Llamas, a senior analysis analyst with IDC.

Fitbit has been moving accurately and confidently in a route the place there’s nonetheless a variety of progress potential by sticking to its DNA, he informed TechNewsWorld.

“Fitbit is staying faithful to its DNA by focusing on health and fitness, and not trying to be a Swiss Army Knife of smartwatches that attempt to do everything,” Llamas remarked.

Tough Row to Hoe

Avoiding the smartwatch label will work effectively for Fitbit, steered Charles King,principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Rather than pitching itself as a maker of smartwatches, Fitbit instead appears to be positioning the Versa as a platform for cost-effectively extending the capabilities and value of its fitness-tracking solutions for existing and potential customers,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“That’s a good move since it plays well to the company’s strengths and its customers’ interests,” King stated.

However, Fitbit will have a tricky row to hoe within the smartwatch market, in response to Carolina Milanesi, a principal analyst at Creative Strategies.

“I guess Fitbit is not ready to give up yet in trying to pursue the smartwatch market, which is solidly owned by Apple,” she informed TechNewsWorld.

“Fitbit seems to have learned from the Ionic’s mistake. It has lowered the price point and made the design more appealing for women,” Milanesi stated.

“While the Versa might sell more than its predecessor,” she continued, “I remain skeptical of Fitbit’s long-term opportunity in this space, as Apple is investing more and more into health, not just fitness.”

Fashion Statement

For $200, the Versa mannequin is an enchancment over the Blaze, Fitbit’s earlier entry at that value level, noticed Ben Stanton, an analyst at Canalys.

“The Blaze was a flop due to a poor industrial design,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“Smartwatches are not just fitness tools — they are also fashion statements. So with Versa, bringing premium features — like its aluminum chassis — down to $200 is a positive move,” Stanton defined.

“Of course, fashion is subjective — but in my opinion, this is a big step in the right direction for Fitbit,” he added.

Fitbit has pegged the Versa’s battery life at 4 days.

“Fitbit sacrifices [user experience] to deliver incredible battery life,” Stanton stated.

“Its FitbitOS is an incredibly light platform, which doesn’t require huge processing power,” he famous.

“Its software also focuses on blacks and dark colors, which helps Fitbit get the most out of its built-in battery,” Stanton continued. “The competition, namely Apple and Samsung, have more functional, heavy-duty operating systems — but sacrifice a bit of battery life to get there.”

Strong, Steady Growth

The global smartwatch market has been experiencing sturdy and regular progress, and its future seems brilliant, ABI’s Lawrence famous. Shipments ought to attain 49 million by 2022, in contrast with 26 million in 2017.

“Growing numbers of consumer and enterprise users are looking to the devices for numerous reasons,” she stated, “particularly access to smartphone features from the wrist, as well as information — such as calendar notifications, what work to be completing, and directions,” she stated.

However, even better progress is anticipated for hybrid smartwatches — merchandise just like the Fossil Q and Nokia Steel — which have the look of an analog watch however some smartwatch performance. Eighty million hybrids shall be shipped in 2022, in response to Juniper Research, in contrast with 14 million in 2017.

John P. Mello Jr. has been an ECT News Network reporter
since 2003. His areas of focus embrace cybersecurity, IT points, privateness, e-commerce, social media, synthetic intelligence, massive knowledge and client electronics. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with the Boston Business Journal, the
Boston Phoenix, Megapixel.Net and Government
Security News
. Email John.

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