Fitbit, the world’s biggest wearables maker, today announced its first true smart watch, the Ionic. The firm also launched its first set of wireless headphones, a new smart scale, and some associated services.
“Ten years ago, Fitbit pioneered the wearables category with the introduction of its first health and fitness tracker,” Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park says in a prepared statement. “Since then, we have become the leading global wearables brand, setting the pace of innovation in the category and establishing the largest social fitness network that helps millions of people around the world be healthier. With Ionic, we will deliver what consumers have not yet seen in a smartwatch: a health and fitness first platform that combines the power of personalization and deeper insights with our most advanced technology to date, unlocking opportunities for unprecedented health tracking capabilities in the future.”
Long rumored, the Ionic seeks to take on the Apple Watch in ways its previous sort-of watch, the Blaze, never could. Where the Blaze was arguably just a watch-shaped fitness tracker, the Ionic features a more desirable design and true smart watch features like GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networking, custom watch faces, and, of course, apps. Like other Fitbit wearables, and like the Apple Watch, customers will also be able to swap out the straps.
To my eye—and, granted, I’ve not seen the thing in person—the Ionic looks bulkier and sharp edged, and is a far cry from the elegant style of Apple Watch. That said, the battery life is a lot better: Fitbit claims 4+ days of battery life, compared to less than one day with Apple Watch.
Other unique features include dynamic, on-device workouts; run detection tied to the GPS; water resistance to 50 meters and a new swim mode; improved heart rate monitoring; a blood oxygen sensor, 2.5 GB of onboard storage for music; Fitbit Pay integration; and smart notifications. “Expert-designed running and walking Audio Coaching sessions” are coming in 2018, Fitbit says.
Fitbit Ionic costs $299.95 and will ship in October. It is available in three color combinations—silver gray tracker and clasp with a blue gray band, smoke gray tracker and clasp with a charcoal band, or burnt orange tracker and clasp with a slate blue band—and various straps and other accessories will be available as well.
Additionally, Fitbit today also announced:
- Fitbit Flyer, the firm’s first pair of wireless headphones, which it says are built for fitness. The cost is $129.95 and it is available for pre-order with shipments in 4-5 weeks.
- Fitbit Aria 2, its second-generation smart scale. The cost is $129.95 and it is available for pre-order.
- Fitbit Coach, a paid subscription service that provides audio coaching sessions and guided health programs. This is coming in Fall 2017, the firm says.