Fitbits smartwatch set to be ready for Christmas, but is the Fitbit fad already over?
There’s no denying that Fitbit has dominated the wearable sector for some time. To date, it has sold 67 million Fitbits, with the Charge 2 being the most popular wearable.
So, it’s perhaps not surprising that the company has decided to add to its wearable range with a smartwatch.
In a press release in January, Fitbit’s CEO said: “We believe we are uniquely positioned to succeed in delivering what consumers are looking for in a smartwatch: stylish, well-designed devices that combine the right general-purpose functionality with a focus on health and fitness.”
According to the Verge, Fitbit announced in its second-quarter earnings report that the smartwatch will be available by this year’s Christmas season. This follows numerous reports that the device had been delayed due to production issues.
A more specific date has not yet been announced, and the company is remaining pretty quiet about what it could feature. Rumours and possibly leaks suggest the device could have more accurate GPS than previous wearables, as well as waterproofing and a four-day battery life.
Many fans of Fitbit are urging the company to stick to what it knows and provide a decent device for health and fitness users, instead of trying to compete with Apple and its Apple Watch, which has seen sales go up more than 50% since last year, Tech Crunch reported.
It may be that the smartwatch comes at a good time for the company, as it seems Fitbit’s reign as king of the wearables may have come to an end.
Tech Crunch also recently reported that Chinese firm Xiaomi has beaten Fitbit to the top spot in the wearable market, with research from Strategy Analytics showing Xiaomi has come out on top for sales of wearable devices worldwide for the first time. Meanwhile, sales of Fitbit devices fell by 40%.
Only time will tell if Fitbit’s smartwatch can help it regain its position as head of the wearable market.
But the company might need to adjust its health and fitness offerings, if it wants to succeed.
Researchers at Brunel University London suggest that a Fitbit device could actually be putting teenagers off from exercising, instead of encouraging them to be more active.
As discussed by the Telegraph, the study tracked 84 students aged 13 and 14 who wore a Fitbit tracker for eight weeks. While the novelty of the device initially encouraged more activity to begin with, this soon wore off and teenagers ended up feeling demotivated about physical activity.
It seemed that Fitbit set unrealistic targets that were not tailored to individuals, with participants describing the 10,000 steps-a-day goal as “unfair”. Falling short of this target made them feel bad and put them off exercise, lead researcher Dr Charlotte Kerner explained.
What drove the teenagers to exercise more was competition with their peers.
Maybe Fitbit should bear this in mind with its smartwatch, if it wants it to succeed.