Sci-tech

Fitbit Finally Made a Smartwatch I Can't Wait to Wear

Fitbit Finally Made a Smartwatch I Can't Wait to Wear”

Today, the company is expanding its line with the Versa, a more casual, affordable model. The Ionic is bulky, angular, and not suitable for every size wrist - the Versa gets rid of all those pain points.

The Fitbit Versa resembles an Apple Watch, but that's not a bad thing.

But it will take more than a rose gold redesign to convince women to splurge on a smartwatch. I relived some elementary school gym class trauma with a session of dodgeball and Presidential Fitness Test-style strength training.

I strapped a Versa to my wrist to log a dodgeball workout at Fitbit's Versa press event in Manhattan, and I didn't even notice that I was wearing it (although perhaps that's because I was performing damn near acrobatic moves to avoid getting beaned in the leg). Like the Ionic, it's platform agnostic. It's also safe for swimming. That's why Fitbit is rolling out female health-tracking features. However, there are a few Ionic features that the Versa skips, the big one being Global Positioning System. That means you'll be able to view your stats at a glance, as well as get action-based tips and motivational messages based on your personal data. There'll be reminders to log your food intake or take medication, celebrations for hitting goals and milestones, insights into your activity, sleep summaries, social challenges and prompts to take action on your data. On the other hand, it lacks the Ionic's built-in Global Positioning System with GLONASS, wallet-free payments, and has a smaller screen. First, there's the Fitbit Versa, a $199 smartwatch that can do nearly everything that the Ionic, Fitbit's $299 smartwatch that was released this past October, can do. Watch bands range from $29.95-$99.95.

Both upgrades will be available free of charge.

Jon Barlow was creating apps for Pebble before the Fitbit acquisition, and while the transition process was smooth on a technical level, something he said has also remained intact is the strong community support that made so many people fall in love with Pebble in the first place.

The move to reboot its smartwatch push comes after a hard holiday shopping season for Fitbit's entire line of watches and trackers. It'll also feature a custom adidas clock face and is expected to arrive March 19 for $329.95.

Battery life comes in at a claimed five days, while the band also features an adjustable, showerproof wristband in two bright kid-friendly colours - electric blue and power purple. The Ace has a five-day battery life and it tracks steps, active minutes and sleep. If the design looks familiar, that's because it's a redesign of the company's old fitness tracker, the Fitbit Ultra. Privacy is also beefed up, with a new Fitbit family account feature that's compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. The Fitbit Ace is basically an adapted version of the Fitbit Alta, with a smaller, adjustable band to fit tinier wrists and a revised software to remove data that may not be as relevant to younger users, such as calories burned.

In addition to that limitation on iPhone users, the Versa and the revamped Fitbit software won't fix all of the problems that held the Ionic back. While you can install period-tracking apps on the Apple Watch, there is no app that combines and analyzes all the information women need to understand their overall health. The dashboard will then forecast future cycles, including ovulation windows, and eventually offer insight into trends, such as how your cycle affects your weight.

Announced alongside the Fitbit Ace fitness tracker for kids, the £199.99 Versa sports the same PurePulse heart rate and SpO2 sensors you get in the Ionic, but it does so in a much more slender and attractive design.

This is all part of Fitbit's push to expand into new demographics. The majority of smartwatches are designed primarily with men in mind, and according to Fitbit, that's reflected in the customer base.



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