Fitbit has taken the wraps off the most recent members of its fitness-tracking household, and the brand new gadgets, referred to as Versa and Ace, characterize one thing of a brand new route for the corporate. They’re health trackers at coronary heart, in fact, however the core viewers is not devoted athletes. They’re for households. And never simply dads both—the complete household.
Fitbit absolutely counts loads of informal wearers amongst its 25 million energetic customers, however a lot of the firm’s trackers are focused at individuals who comply with an athletic routine. Versa and Ace are completely different. However whereas the Versa and Ace may appear to be cheaper variations of Ionic and Alta HR, respectively, the enchantment right here is not simply their decrease costs. They’re a recognition that Fitbit is now not the one health recreation on the town, in addition to an admission that the corporate might need underserved two key demographics in terms of creating way of life gadgets: girls and kids.
Versa isn’t particularly constructed for ladies, however its smaller dimension and rose gold coloration possibility are clearly geared towards feminine wrists. And Ace is Fitbit’s first wristband made particularly for teenagers. After all, they’re each full of the issues Fitbit does greatest—step and sleep monitoring, notifications, and exercise targets—however the strategy right here isn’t nearly feeling the burn. It’s about reaching a consumer who needs a health tracker that perceive and responds to their physique, even when they not often break a sweat.
The identical options (principally) in a smaller body
At first look, longtime Pebble followers may mistake Versa for an up to date model of the Time watch. With an identical “sqircle” form and bezel-heavy contact display, the $200 Versa clearly takes equal inspiration from the Pebble Time of previous and Apple Watch, as Fitbit has opted to stay with the sq. display quite than a round one. The physique is obtainable in three colours of aluminum—black, silver, and rose gold—with the identical three-button format launched with Ionic.
Nonetheless, Ionic’s masculine aesthetic is nowhere to be seen right here. The display has been shrunk from 1.2 inches right down to 1 inch, and the cumbersome lugs that held the straps in place have been changed with an ordinary pin mechanism. The smaller dimension means there’s no onboard GPS, and the battery life is barely 4 days (versus 5 on Ionic). You may take it swimming since its waterproof to 50 meters, however if you need NFC for funds, you’ll want to purchase one of many two $230 particular version fashions with woven bands. Fitbit blames the low adoption charge within the U.S. for limiting the characteristic to only two higher-priced fashions.
Fitbit is promoting quite a lot of bands for Versa as nicely, starting from the $50 Horween leather-based fashions to steel hyperlinks commanding $100. It is also teamed up with PH5 to supply a special-edition knit band. There is a clear concentrate on style and personalization with Versa, and it has nice type sense. Even in the event you select the thickest band, it’s going to nonetheless look far sleeker than those made for Ionic.
However whereas Versa delivers a slimmer, smaller package deal lower than six months after Ionic landed, at $200, it is simply $50 lower than Apple Watch Collection 1. So seems alone aren’t going to promote Versa. That is why Fitbit is utilizing its new smartwatch to carry a bit of versatility to health monitoring.
A brand new concentrate on girls’s well being
There’s no denying that Versa is a smaller, softer, and smarter system than Ionic. However whereas the brand new design will certainly enchantment to a wider cross-section of wrists, Versa is greater than only a cheaper model of its bigger sibling—it really represents one thing of a philosophical shift for Fitbit. Through the keynote on Monday, Fitbit’s presenters spent little or no time speaking about pure health monitoring and numerous time speaking a few decidedly less-comfortable topic: menstruation.
For the primary time, Fitbit will probably be bringing interval monitoring and fertility into its health dashboard this summer time, so girls can’t solely observe their cycle, but additionally see the impact it has on the remainder of their well being. By combining the information with the biometrics collected on Versa, girls will be capable of observe their menstrual cycle by way of a calendar, log signs, and observe traits and patterns primarily based on biometrics. That information will then be delivered to Versa’s new Right this moment display, which is obtainable by swiping up from the underside of the system.
An replace can even carry the identical performance to Ionic, but it surely’s laborious to disclaim that Versa is Fitbit’s first woman-focused system. It’s one of many few smartwatches apart from the 38mm Apple Watch to look good on smaller wrists, and the menstruation monitoring brings a characteristic that isn’t obtainable on every other smartwatch with out putting in a third-party app. There’s additionally an app for brand new mother and father, which is able to observe feedings and diaper adjustments proper in your wrist.
With Versa’s sleeker design and softer colours, Fitbit appears to be concentrating on girls who may in any other case purchase a 38mm Apple Watch. Versa will nonetheless be a bit of too massive and chunky for some very skinny wrists, but it surely’s good to see an organization apart from Apple acknowledge that smartwatches should not be one dimension match all. However Fitbit’s concentrate on girls’s well being is the ground-breaking characteristic right here, and I would not be stunned to see Apple comply with swimsuit in watchOS 5.
The enjoyable aspect of health
With Versa, Fitbit needs to carry the identical stage of health monitoring that hard-core athletes crave to a life-style which may not embody a day by day train routine. And with that in thoughts, it’s concentrating on even smaller wrists with Ace.
If girls are underserved by smartwatches, children are fully ignored. However as Fitbit factors out, practically 20 % of children are obese due principally resulting from a dependancy to “screens,” as in smartphones, tablets, and video video games. By making a health band geared towards youngsters, Fitbit needs to assist encourage children to be energetic and wholesome with out stressing or obsessing over it.
The primary health wristband constructed particularly for teenagers eight and older, the $100 Ace silicone band tracks steps, sleep, and exercise with badges and challenges designed to encourage children to gamify their energetic way of life. It seems rather a lot like Fitbit’s Alta HR band however as a substitute of black it’s obtainable in two cool new kid-centric colours: electrical blue and energy purple.
However Ace’s greatest characteristic could be what it gained’t do. Fitbit is conscious that consuming issues typically begin younger, and it needs to reward with Ace, not disgrace children into figuring out and even practice them to concentrate on something however the enjoyable aspect of being energetic, so it will not present calorie counting within the app. Youngsters additionally will not be capable of entry Fitbit’s social community, and fogeys will be capable of restrict the information they see on their wrist. And coming quickly, Fitbit will let households compete in opposition to one another in a brand new Household Faceoff characteristic. (All in good enjoyable, in fact.)
For involved mother and father, consider Ace as extra of a “pat on the again” system than a “you’re being too lazy” one. As a father or mother, I may undoubtedly see my son excitedly checking his Ace to see what number of badges he earned for the day, and I feel Ace may very well be an effective way to assist him perceive the significance of train.
A brand new route for Fitbit
When Fitbit launched Ionic final yr, it was a smartwatch clearly geared toward Fitbit’s core customers: athletes. Its cumbersome, aggressive design was extra at residence on a treadmill than a runway, and options like NFC funds and music storage have been extra helpful throughout a future than a enterprise journey.
However Versa and Ace are completely different. Fitbit has constructed two gadgets which are geared at selling a wholesome way of life even when your solely train routine is strolling to select up the youngsters from baseball apply. At its launch occasion yesterday CEO James Park mentioned Fitbit’s aim with its new lineup is to “win the household.” Now girls and kids may have a Fitbit particularly geared towards their very own our bodies, the Versa and Ace simply may make assist that aim turn into a actuality.
Fitbit Versa is available for preorder at fitbit.com starting in the present day. Versa is obtainable in three coloration/band mixtures for $200: black aluminum with a black silicone sport band, silver aluminum with a lightweight grey sport band, and rose gold aluminum with a peach sport band. Two particular version fashions can even be obtainable for $230 that includes woven charcoal and purple bands and NFC. Versa will hit cabinets in April.
The $100 Ace band can also be available for preorder today for delivery someday within the second quarter of 2018.