With spring 2019 lineup, Fitbit drops the worth, splashes on the colour

Across 90 million devices, Fitbit has tracked 181 billion hours of heart rate data, 175 trillion steps, and 457 billion minutes of exercise – giving the company one of the world’s largest databases of biometric data. Yet that’s not how people think of the company, CEO and co-founder James Park told a handful of reporters.

“People have traditionally thought of us as a device company,” Park said. “We really think of our users as being on Fitbit. It’s not just a device, it’s the combination of the device, the data, a smart software platform…” The next generation of Fitbit products, revealed at an event in New York City on March 5 and officially debuting today, aims to push what wearables and health trackers can do even further – and show you that the smartwatch on your wrist is more than just a device.

The spring 2019 Fitbit lineup (now available to order, though they won’t ship until later this spring) includes a new Versa Lite Edition, which is an affordable everyday smartwatch. Then there’s the Inspire and Inspire HR fitness trackers, which are as stylish as they are feature-filled. as well as the Ace 2, a swimproof tracker for kids ages 6 and up that’s meant to foster healthy habits.

Research firm IDC says the wearables market will continue expanding, reaching 189 million units by 2022. Central to that growth is the rise of trackers for kids, which help parents keep tabs on their children’s activity and form healthy habits from early on. One in five kids is obese today; health trackers like the Ace 2 might help change that.

The Versa Lite Edition targets a new field of user, those who have been intimiated by complex fitness trackers or simply hesitant to spend big bucks on existing products. “We wanted to go after some consumers who have been left out of the market to date,” explained Melanie Chase, vice president of product marketing. The device tracks heart rate and sleep, as well as female health, automatically detects activity, and is swimproof. It also features a new one-button design for simplified use – all for just $160.

What’s notable about the Versa Lite Edition is what it lacks – Lite Edition, remember? It strips out swim lap counting, floor climbing, and music. There’s no onboard GPS, although the device can pair with your smartphone to use its GPS tracker. Finally, the Versa Lite also lacks Wi-Fi. To download apps or updates, it syncs a small portion of the app when the watch syncs to the smartphone. When an app fully downloads, the user receives a notification about the completed download.

The Versa Lite is available in white, lilac, mulberry, and marina blue, and bands come in six colors, including scarlet, charcoal, and sunshine. Hybrid woven bands – half nylon, half cloth — will come soon as well.

The Inspire builds on the Alto line of products, which is being discontinued. It is designed to offer positive reinforcement of behavior and to encourage healthy behavior. And again, it’s an affordable device that targets consumers who may have been intimidated by more expensive devices.

“The threshold for getting started can feel a little high. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had experiences where I try out that first new gym or first new class, and it can be a little deflating if you’re not good at it,” Chase said.

The $70 Inspire has exercise and sleep tracking, automatic activity detection, and a touchscreen display. It comes in black and sangria colors. The HR adds heart rate tracking and connected GPS functionality, for just $100l, and comes in black, lilac, and two-tone black and white. Both devices are swimproof.

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