IN THE WORLD of wearable technology, there is no bigger name than Fitbit.
by David Compa
The 10-year-old brand is synonymous with fitness trackers, seen on wrists around the world, and commands a loyal following, with 3.4 million devices sold between April and June alone, according to IDC. Fitbit has even been credited with everything from diagnosing pregnancies, to unearthing heart problems, and exposing marital infidelities. But Fitbit is also a company with a substantial challenge ahead. While it created fitness-tracking as we know it, the company has eschewed smartwatches until now. The Fitbit Ionic became its first official smartwatch release this week but, with greater competition, could it be too late? Fitbit ambassador and celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak uses the Ionic smartwatch.Source:Supplied Fitbit co-founder James Park, who visited Australia for the Fitbit Ionic launch, says it’s not a case of early or late but about making a compelling case for consumers to buy a smartwatch at all. Many smartwatch to launch smartwatches have got the technology wrong, he says. “Why would you wear a smartwatch? I think the answer for many people is still unclear,” Park says. “For us, we’re entering the market as a brand that’s synonymous with health and fitness-tracking, we’re health and fitness-focused first, so we’re giving people a reason to buy into this category.” READ MORE: Five best new smartwatches reviewed and rated The $450 Ionic smartwatch certainly looks different to its smartwatch rivals, with a square screen, a flat form, and its own software and watch faces. But Park says its most distinguishing features are its health sensors and capabilities, which will become better over time. In addition to its heart-rate sensor, the Ionic features an altimeter to detect your elevation, a GPS chip with integrated antenna for a stronger satellite connection, three-axis accelerometers to detect movement, and an SpO2 sensor. This latter inclusion is a first in a smartwatch and can be used to detect oxygen levels in the blood. Fitbit's first smartwatch, the Ionic, features many more watchfaces than before.Source:Supplied Park says it “is going to be active and it’s going to be collecting data” from launch, even though that information will only