The company announced the launch of its smartwatch, Ionic on Monday (August 28), which will include features such as sleep and activity tracking, heart monitoring, GPS and music storage.
Wearable technology is without a doubt one of the hottest trends, and wearable device giant Fitbit (NYSE:FIT) is putting forth its best efforts to ensure it doesn’t get lost in the dust.
On Monday (August 28), the tech giant announced the launch of Ionic, the company’s first smartwatch, which includes a plethora of features, including: a personalized trainer where users can access on-device workouts; running companion, which automatically tacks runs with its RUn Detect feature; a swim exercise mode that includes water resistance of up to 50 meters; enhanced heart-rate technology, through its PurePlus heart rate tracking; and music storage of up to 2.5 gigabytes, to name a few.
While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its Apple Watch Series 2 in September of last year, Fitbit has been struggling to maintain the same level of competitiveness in the wearable technology market.
Prior to Ionic, Fitbit dabbled in smartwatches with Fitbit Blaze, but according to CNN, the company’s CEO James Park said the “category didn’t make sense for the company.”
“We’re not entering the category for the sake of entering the category,” Park said in New York last week (August 21-25). “For us, there’s a purpose. We feel very strongly that smartwatches are a platform for us to deliver the most powerful tools the market has seen. The larger form factor of smartwatches versus activity and fitness trackers allow us to integrate many more advanced sensors and provide richer displays and user interfaces.”
In addition to the above, other features of the watch include automatically tracking steps, calorie tracking, climbed and sleep stages, a multi-day battery life, and the ability to make payments using Fitbit Pay.
“Over the coming months you will be able to add eligible American Express cards, as well as Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards from top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe,” the company said in the press release.
While Fitbit’s latest device certainly sounds promising, how it stacks up against the Apple Watch is another story, according to some analysts.
“Fitbit can take some market share from Apple by appealing to those who are more focused on fitness, however, we do not expect this to be a significant share of Apple’s overall smartwatch sales,” Alicia Reese, a Wedbush Securities analyst told Reuters.
Following the announcement, shares of Fitbit increased 3.48 percent to $5.94 at the close on Monday, while its stock price dipped 0.67 percent during after hours trading. Year-to-date, Fitbit’s shares have been unable to find stable footing, declining 18.85 percent overall.
In terms of the overall wearable technology sector, earlier this year IDC reported that it is expected to nearly double by 2021. In 2016, 104.3 million units were shipped, with that number expected to reach 240.1 million, representing a five-year compound annual growth rate of 18.2 percent, the firm states.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.