With 'smart fitness watch,' Fitbit eyes new players

GMT 10:45 2016 Wednesday ,06 January

Arab Today, arab today With 'smart fitness watch,' Fitbit eyes new players

The new FitBit Blaze
Las Vegas - AFP

Fitbit on Tuesday unveiled its "smart fitness watch," aiming to get into the growing smartwatch segment with upgraded fitness tracking features.

The company, which leads the wearable tech market with its wrist-worn trackers but is being challenged by the rise of smartwatches from Apple and others, said its $199 Fitbit Blaze watch was available for pre-order and would be in retail stores globally in May.

Speaking at an unveiling ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Fitbit chief executive and co-founder James Park said the new device "strikes a balance between fitness and style."

The Blaze contains a module that can be linked with smartphones running Apple, Android or Windows systems and removed to snap into different bands for workouts, the office or nights on the town, Park said.

"It puts fitness first and has the right set of features that don't overwhelm the user," he told the news conference.

Fitbit led the global market for wearable tech devices in the third quarter with a 22.2 percent market share and unit sales of 4.7 million, according to research firm IDC.

But many analysts expect Apple to take the lead in the sector with its new smartwatch that connects to iPhones and also has fitness-tracking features.

The new Fitbit device allows for on-screen workout guides, GPS tracking for runners and an upgraded heart rate tracking feature which can also measure sleep quality if the wearer keeps it on overnight.

It will also allow for notifications of calls, text and calendar alerts, and can control music playing from a phone. It also features a high-resolution color display and a battery that can last up to five days.

"One of the first things we learned in this industry is that fitness is personal and if something isn't your style, you won't wear it," Park said.

"With Fitbit Blaze, we pushed the boundaries of what's possible to create a beautiful, versatile device that can be customized to fit your personal style while packing a powerful fitness punch to help you reach your goals."


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