Fitbit Unveils 3 New Fitness Trackers; Announces Cortana Compatibility

28 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Fitbit Unveils Fitness Trackers Ahead of Apple Watch.

Fitbit’s new range includes the $129 fitbit charge, the $149 chargeHR while also has a heart rate sensors, and the $249 Surge which has GPS, heart rate monitoring and smartwatch functionality. ‘Continuing our mission to inspire people to lead healthier, more active lives, we’re releasing these three new innovative devices to help reach everyday, active or performance health and fitness goals,’ the San Francisco firm said. ‘Surge is Fitbit’s most advanced tracker to date: a sleek ‘Fitness Super Watch,’ designed for those looking for peak performance,’ the firm said. Fitbit on Monday unveiled three fitness trackers — including a “super watch” that could compete with Apple’s upcoming smart watch — in hopes of helping customers forget about its embarrassing product recall in February.Fitbit Inc., a maker of fitness-tracking wristbands, unveiled three new wearable computing devices as it seeks to woo consumers in the smartwatch market before Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) moves in. It was rumoured that the Californian firm would release a standalone heart rate monitor called PurePulse, but this technology has been built into the new products.

The Charge, Charge HR and Surge all measure steps, distance and calories burned, track sleep, and include caller ID, the San Francisco-based company said today in a statement. This is expected to provide real-time workout data, and statistics – including heart rate, calories, steps, pace, elevation and distance – will sync wirelessly to a smartphone via an app. These were revealed in a patent application, filed earlier this year, which detailed a wearable device called FitBit Charge that includes, among other features: ‘Pedometers; altimeters; devices for displaying [and] measuring, time, date, steps taken, calories burned, distance travelled, floors climbed, active time, elevation, altitude, speed, pace, hours slept, quality of sleep, heart rate, routes, navigational information, and weather information.’ This suggests the devices will feature ‘smart’ notifications, including call and text notifications, on the wrist, and will let wearers control music from their wrist – in a bid to take on smartwatches.

Last month, iPhone maker Apple said it would roll out its first smartwatch early next year, challenging phone rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co. as well as smaller companies like Fitbit in the wearables market. Fitbit also today announced the integration of Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activation feature to allow verbal logs on its devices when linked to Windows Phone applications. The Surge, also not due out until early 2015, will include GPS tracking to measure pace, distance, elevation and other data during a wearer’s workout. But after the Force went on sale in the U.S. and Canada, the company received about 9,900 reports of skin irritation and 250 reports of blistering, according to the U.S. The company pulled the model from online and retail stores and offered full refunds, although some customers complained the refund process, handled by a third-party company, was slow and frustrating.

Lindsay Cook, Fitbit’s director of product marketing, said the company believes it has moved past the “speed bump” caused by the recall, although it took longer than usual to bring a Force replacement to market because the company started more stringent testing to make sure the latest models don’t cause the same allergic reactions. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also investigated the Fitbit Flex models, but the company agreed to add labels on Flex packaging warning about the potential for nickel allergies.

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