Misfit launches new smart band in Beijing

21 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Misfit launches more powerful, vibrating wearable.

Misfit, a maker of smart wearables based in Silicon Valley that started out mainly targeting female consumers, launched its new fitness and sleep tracker in Beijing on Wednesday. Misfit’s name pays homage to a quote by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who famously saluted “the crazy ones” for their pioneering spirit and willingness to explore new things. Some pretend to be timepieces while also counting your steps, others are full-on smartwatches, and still more aim for style and subtlety over flashing LED step counts. The vibration feature is a true accomplishment considering the fitness tracker doesn’t need to be charged and can last between four and six months on a common disposable watch battery.

Its successor retains these functions but adds new features such as coloured LED lights that visually notify users of incoming calls and messages when the Shine 2 is connected by Bluetooth to a smartphone. The device will retail for US$100 in America and 799 yuan (US$126) in China upon its commercial release in the country on e-commerce site JD.com next Wednesday. The original Shine looked a minimalist though slightly strange bracelet when it launched in 2013, but that was appealing in an age of all-around hideous activity-trackers.

It’ll track steps, calories, distance traveled and sleep quality, as well as activities such as swimming, basketball, tennis, soccer, yoga and dance. Despite the various upgrades, however, the new wearable has already been criticised for the size of its display, which detractors say is too small to display a sufficient amount of information. “I think a lot of people don’t want to wear screens on their bodies – they want something more beautiful, more like a fashion accessory than a technology product,” said Vu, adding that, technically, adding a screen is fairly straightforward. The new product comes at a time when the company is facing pressure not only from other fitness startups—like Fitbit and Jawbone—but also from smartwatch companies such as Apple and Samsung. The company has also set up a software team in Shenzhen, in southern Guangdong province, to capitalise on the wealth of software and engineering talent in the industrial city. READ MORE: The infant bottle that tells on nanny: Chinese smart bottle tells working mums everything from temperature of milk to posture of nanny pouring it Moving forward, the company hopes to move deeper into the smart home space.

The barebones Flash Link starts at $20, its original Shine goes for $30 while the Flash retails for $70 According to an IDC report, Misfit sells fewer fitness trackers than Fitbit and Jawbone. It also sells fewer wearables than Samsung SSNLF 5.00% and Apple AAPL 1.94% , despite the fact those companies sell smartwatches that retail for three times the price of Misfit’s most expensive wearables. Xiaomi sells its own inexpensive fitness tracker—the Mi Band—that resembles Misfit’s trackers, although it syncs with its own software and not Misfit’s. China’s domestic market-leading smartphone vendor Xiaomi ranks third with its low-cost entry into the wearables market, the US$13 Mi Band, which also tracks steps, sleep patterns and sends basic notifications.

Shine 2 also has a ring of 12 LEDs that can display up to 16 million colors, which users will be able to customize in Misfit’s corresponding fitness tracking app for specific app notifications and even multi-colored animations. Last year, Oscar, a health insurance company, started providing free Misfit fitness trackers to its members, so they could track steps in exchange for rewards.

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