Fitbit is focusing on the more affordable side of the market with two new wearables: the affordable Versa smartwatch, and the Ace fitness tracker for kids.
The Versa, which is touted as being offered at an "approachable price" of US$199.95, is also dubbed the lightest metal smartwatch in the U.S. It offers a new simplified dashboard design, and features like 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, and automatic sleep stages. It also supports features like quick replies on Android devices, on-device music, and digital wallet capabilities on the Special Edition model.
With four-plus-day battery life, it also includes female health tracking to help women track their menstrual cycles, view holistic health data in one place, and better understand connections to their overall health. Women can log their menstrual cycle data; record symptoms, like headaches, acne, and cramps; see dynamic cycle predictions for where you are in your cycle; see connections between your cycle and other Fitbit stats, like activity, sleep, or weight trends; learn more about ovulation, fertility, and common misconceptions; and join other women through Groups in the Community tab of the app for support around key topics like periods, birth control, trying to conceive, pregnancy, and perimenopause and menopause. In the future, as the database of female health metrics grows, this data may help enable Fitbit to deliver even more insights, such as how your cycle impacts your activity, sleep, weight and nutrition, and potentially how these things can affect your cycle. In addition to the Versa, this new feature will also be available on the Ionic smartwatch and to the Fitbit app starting this Spring.
"As the wearables category continues to grow, Fitbit Versa fills a critical need in the market by delivering a beautifully designed, full-featured smartwatch that is easy to use at a very competitive price," says James Park, co- founder and CEO of Fitbit. "Versa brings consumers the advanced health and fitness features Fitbit is known for, along with broad compatibility across mobile platforms and 4+ days battery life to provide users with a better picture of their overall health, making it stand out from any smartwatch available today."
Versa launches with Fitbit OS 2.0, which includes a new personalized dashboard that provides a more simplified, intuitive and holistic view of your health and fitness data. This includes stats at a glance that show your daily and weekly health and fitness stats, historical activity, heart rate, and exercise summaries, action-oriented motivational messages, tips and tricks, and daily guidance; and more personalization, including reminders, celebrations, logging, insights, sleep summaries and social challenges, with prompts to take actions based on your data, coming later in 2018.
Versa offers enhanced 24/7 PurePulse heart rate tracking, on-screen personal workouts from Fitbit Coach, 6 15+ Exercise Modes, Connected GPS, swim tracking with water resistance up to 50 meters, plus automatic activity and exercise tracking.
Sleep Stages and Insights show how well you're sleeping and let you set a restful sleep schedule; Cardio Fitness Level provides data on how fit you are; and Reminders to Move let you know when it's time to get up and walk about if you've been sitting for too long. A relative SpO2 sensor opens the potential to track important health indicators in the future, such as sleep apnea.
Aesthetically, Versa features a durable, ultra-thin anodized aluminum case, and is slightly tapered and angled in its design to fit small or large wrists. The rounded square silhouette display features a bright, colourful touchscreen and brightness up to 1,000 nits. There are a number of accessories for the device, including swim-ready bands in a variety of colours; leather bands; stainless steel links; and a designer collection.
For the U.S. market, the Special Edition Versa, which will sell for US$229.95 starting in April, adds an NFC chip for using Fitbit Pay.
Fitbit is also expanding into the youth market with the Ace, a wristband that's designed for kids aged 8 and older to help motivate them to stay active, and encourage healthy habits for the entire family.
According to the World Health Organization, childhood obesity rates are on the rise, with two out of three kids inactive every day. Based on a new Fitbit study, most parents agree and believe their children are less active than when they were children. They are concerned about their child's weight, the food they eat, and their activity levels, as well as the rising trend of childhood obesity. The majority of parents want their children to be healthier (84%) and want their families to be more active (87%). Screen time is cited as the biggest challenge in getting their kids to be active, and parents are looking for ways to encourage a more healthy, active lifestyle, including being more active as a family, cooking together, or encouraging their children to have a better understanding of their own activity levels. In fact, 75% of parents said they are interested in the use of fitness trackers to help them keep their kids active.
Ace automatically tracks steps, active minutes and sleep, has up to five days of battery life. Kids can set customizable daily step and active minute goals: WHO recommends that children aged 7-17 get 60 minutes of daily physical activity and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests 9 to 12 hours of sleep a night.
Kids will get reminders to move if they've been sedentary for too long, nudging them to take at least 250 steps every hour. Kids can receive rewards, like celebratory messages, or collectible badges that can be seen in the Fitbit app. For further motiviation, kids can compete against family or friends through a feature coming soon, in either daily or weekend challenges, or in a Family Facebook - a five-day step challenge that allows members in a family account to compete against each other and stay motivated (also coming soon).
"The challenge of inactivity with our children is not going away and is only estimated to get worse as they get older, dropping almost 40 minutes per year from ages 9 to 15," says Chris Watts, Executive Director of the National Fitness Foundation. "It is essential to provide parents with tools to help their kids be more active. Fitbit's solution offers more than just a way to track activity - it helps instill healthy habits from an early age, making it fun and rewarding to move more and empowers parents to make health and fitness a family affair."
With the new Fitbit family account, parents can control who their kids connect with in the Fitbit app so they can safeguard their kids' privacy and stay on top of their activity. Fitbit family account is designed to be compliant with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other applicable privacy laws, allowing parents to manage who their children connect with and what information they see in the Fitbit app. A parent view setting lets you navigate between your view and your kid's view to check their activity, progress, and approve their friend requests from family members and friends (coming soon) at any time in the Fitbit app. Ace automatically syncs with most Android and iOS devices; Windows devices coming soon.
The kids will get a limited view of data via the child view setting, including stats, friend requests, and more. Kids who have smartphones can also get call notifications directly on their wrist.
"As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, it's more important than ever to empower the entire family to embrace a healthy and more active lifestyle," comments Park. "It can be hard to start and stick to good habits, and we know from our community that network effects are key to getting and keeping people motivated. By bringing that experience to families, it can make healthier habits feel more achievable by making it fun and engaging. We are excited by the opportunity to enable parents to help set their kids on a path to building lifelong, healthy habits all while having fun together."
With an adjustable, showerproof wristband and up to five days battery life, Ace also comes with 10 unique clock faces and two fun interchangeable bands in electric blue and power purple.
Ace is available for presale today, with global retail availability in Q2 2018. It will sell for US$99.95.