Fitbit smartwatch – still on track, says CEO

JC Torres - Jul 19, 2017, 9:31pm CDT
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Fitbit smartwatch – still on track, says CEO

Huawei’s announcement of its new Band 2 and Band 2 Pro has got people wondering where Fitbit is in all of these. Last we heard, the famed fitness tracker maker was on the road to creating its first true smartwatch (no, the Blaze above doesn’t really count) but has been hit with delays. Breaking his silence, company chief James Park assures fans and critics alike that the Fitbit Smartwatch, whatever it will be called, is actually still on track and has even shared what features it will and will not have.

You’d probably be crazy to make your own smartwatch platform these days, with Android Wear and Apple watchOS dominating the scene. Unless you were Pebble, except they have been acquired by Fitbit. Undaunted and defying reports of financial woes and delays, Park claims that everything is still going to plan.

But what are those plans? Apparently nothing so grand as Android Wear or even the dearly departed Pebble. Fitbit’s focus is still primarily on the fitness side. In fact, you could say that the smartwatch aspect is just sugar on top. A fitness tracker in smartwatch clothing, so to speak.

A precise GPS is one such feature, something Fitbit already has in most of its high-end trackers but something most smartwatches don’t. Park also says that there will be new biometric sensors, though, unsurprisingly, doesn’t go into detail about them. It will be interesting to see if Fitbit has come up with something we haven’t seen yet in that space, considering there seems to have been very little innovation as far as sensors go.

The smartwatch part consists of “nice to have” features, like music playback, both offline and online, possibly partnering with Spotify, Pandora, and the like. Fitbit will utilize Pebble’s HTML/Javascript-based platform to pull in app developers. But what the Fitbit smartwatch won’t have is standalone internet connectivity, TE or otherwise. Park doesn’t believe there is a compelling use case for this feature, at least not at the expense of battery life.

Despite being “on track”, Park has made no estimate when the Fitbit smartwatch will actually pop up. When it does, it will have to squeeze into a small but already saturated smartwatch market. How it will stand out from the sea of smartwatches is something left to be seen, but it’s not easy to discount the allure of Fitbit’s name and the promise of week-long battery life.

SOURCE: Financial Times


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