Fitbit’s New Versa Lite Edition Costs Less Than Half as Much as the Apple Watch

Fitbit today announced its latest smartwatch, the Versa Lite Edition. Priced at $160, the Versa Lite is $40 cheaper than the standard Versa model released last year and less than half as much as the Apple Watch Series 4, which starts at $399.


The new Versa Lite Edition looks similar to the standard Versa, beyond having one button versus three. Of course, the Lite Edition loses some features compared to the standard Versa, including Wi-Fi, on-device music storage and playback, on-screen workouts, and the ability to track swim laps and floors climbed.

Nevertheless, the Lite Edition has most features you would expect from a fitness tracker, including step counting, calories burned, sleep tracking, heart rate tracking, guided breathing sessions, and more than 15 exercise modes.


Compared to the Apple Watch, the Versa Lite Edition is unsurprisingly basic. It has fewer apps, lacks built-in Wi-Fi, GPS, or optional LTE, can't be used for contactless payments, doesn't have a microphone for voice control, and so forth. The simplicity of the Versa Lite does allow for up to four-day battery life though.

Fitbit is the world's second largest smartwatch vendor according to estimates, but it trails Apple by a significant margin, so it's clearly attempting to win market share with an aggressive pricing strategy. This includes the also-announced Inspire, Inspire HR, and Ace 2 fitness trackers priced between $70 and $100.

Versa Lite Edition is available for pre-order in white, lilac, mulberry, and marina blue.

Tag: Fitbit

This article, "Fitbit's New Versa Lite Edition Costs Less Than Half as Much as the Apple Watch" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Fitbit Announces ‘Charge 3’ Fitness Tracker Launching in October for $150

Fitbit today announced the "Fitbit Charge 3," its latest fitness tracker that includes improvements to health and workout features, a 7-day battery life, and advanced sleep tracking with an upcoming "Sleep Score" beta. The Charge 3 is completely swimproof and includes a touchscreen display, but is considered a "tracker" and not a "smartwatch," like the Fitbit Versa or Apple Watch.

The Charge 3 has an aluminum case, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display, and a 40 percent larger OLED display than the Charge 2. Additionally, the company says that the Charge 3 has "the most advanced health and fitness features" on one of its trackers to date, including the addition of a relative SpO2 sensor that can estimate changes in blood oxygen levels to track new health indicators, like sleep apnea.


Other health features include:
Goal-based exercise modes: Choose from 15+ exercise modes like bike, swim, run, weights and yoga; set a goal for calories burned, distance or duration, and see real-time stats, progress and celebrations on device when you reach your goal.

Water resistant to 50M: Wear in the shower, rain, pool or ocean. See real-time duration on your wrist with Swim Mode, or use SmartTrack® automatic exercise recognition to see laps and pace in the Fitbit app post-swim.

Female health tracking: Gain a deeper understanding of your menstrual cycle by using the Fitbit app to log your period and ovulation (coming soon), record symptoms and compare cycle trends over time. With all your health and fitness stats in one place, you can better manage your health; easily see where you are in your cycle in the on-device dashboard.

Personalized insights: Know yourself to improve your health with new dynamic insights about your activity, heart rate, nutrition and sleep to help you reach your goals with positive reinforcement and tips to course correct when needed (coming soon in the Fitbit app).
For the Sleep Score beta, the company says that users will be able to access this feature later in the year. Sleep Score will provide users with a nightly score so they can see a "more complete picture" of their overall sleep quality and what factors could be negatively affecting it.


Like other Fitbit trackers, the Charge 3 can also display smartphone notifications for calls, texts, and other apps. Fitbit Pay will be available on the Charge 3 Special Edition, letting users checkout at NFC-compatible locations using the smart tracker.

There is also a new line of accessories for the Charge 3, including classic bands, sports bands, woven bands, and Horween leather bands. These accessories range from $29.95 to $49.95.

The Fitbit Charge 3 itself is available to pre-order today on Fitbit.com (and other retailers tomorrow) for $149.95 in black with a graphite aluminum case or blue gray with a rose gold aluminum case. The Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition with Fitbit Pay will cost $169.95. The tracker will officially launch in stores this October in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Tag: Fitbit

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Fitbit Versa Reviews: Solid Smartwatch Option at $200 Unlikely to Lure Away Apple Watch Owners

Nearly two weeks after Fitbit first announced the Fitbit Versa, reviews for the new smartwatch have now emerged online today. Many of the reviewers agreed on the following points: the Versa is a step above last year's Fitbit Ionic, trading off GPS and NFC is worth it for the $200 price tag, and Fitbit still hasn't launched a device that could properly challenge the Apple Watch's dominance.

The Verge started off by pointing out that text message notifications on the Versa are clunky for iOS users, especially because "there's no way to respond to them" from the watch. Android users will have a "quick replies" feature updated in May, and because of this and other factors The Verge ultimately explained that the Fitbit Versa could appeal to "everyone other than those hardcore Apple users."

Image by Vjeran Pavic via The Verge
So it all comes down to how much you want to pay, how tied into the Apple ecosystem you are, and how much you care about battery life. Fitbit may have a hard time luring away hardcore Apple fans, especially since the Versa is coming to market years after the original Apple Watch. On the flip side, it may be appealing to Android users, as Google’s Wear OS smartwatch platform has stagnated at this point.
Engadget said that while the Versa looks like a "slightly wider Apple Watch," it's also the "best-looking Fitbit yet." To get the Versa to its $200 price point, Fitbit removed some features from the standard version of the smartwatch, like GPS and NFC, but Engadget said that this price drop is what could help the company "reach a bigger audience" in the future.
Ultimately, the things that stand out about the Fitbit Versa are its sub-$200 price and attractive design -- this is a Fitbit that finally looks more like a smartwatch than a fitness tracker. With the addition of female health tracking in May, the Versa could be even more helpful to women. It's disappointing that GPS isn't built in and NFC is missing, but those tradeoffs may help Fitbit reach a bigger audience.
In its review, Ars Technica called Fitbit's fitness app the "best health and fitness program for any wearable," thanks to its flexibility to adapt to both workout novices and experts. The site liked how the $39.99/year Fitbit Coach service integrated with Versa, although the wearable experience is still lacking in comparison to the mobile app.

Image by Valentina Palladino via Ars Technica
However, Fitbit has the opportunity to make its wearable operating system just as killer as its mobile application and overall ecosystem—if it can do that, its devices will be strong contenders in the smartwatch world. It may not have made a splash as Fitbit's first smartwatch, but if any device can entice users to take a chance on Fitbit as their smartwatch provider, it's the $200 Versa.
As a quick tidbit, most of today's reviews mentioned that the process of swapping out bands on the Fitbit Versa is far more difficult when compared to Apple Watch. A few also commented that the Versa's bezels are sometimes noticeable in certain lighting situations, with The Verge further pointing out that Fitbit "had enough space to cram the word "fitbit" onto the watchface, a questionable design choice."

More opinions on the Fitbit Versa can be found online at the following websites: TechCrunch, CNET, Tom's Guide, Gizmodo, and PCMag.


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Fitbit Announces New Apple Watch Rival ‘Versa’ and Kid-Friendly ‘Ace’

Fitbit today announced the Fitbit Versa, which the company described as the "smartwatch for all." The Versa has a few features that directly compare it to the Apple Watch, as well as an overall design that looks similar to Apple's wearable device. Alongside the Fitbit Versa, Fitbit announced a kid-focused Fitbit Ace device and female health tracking coming to the Fitbit iOS app.

Fitbit said the Versa is the "lightest metal smartwatch" in the United States market, with a case made out of ultra-thin, anodized aluminum that is slightly tapered and angled so it fits small or large wrists. The device's touchscreen supports a brightness of up to 1,000 nits, allowing users the ability to read the screen in bright environments, and it has a battery that will last for 4+ days.


The Fitbit Versa has many of the expected features seen in previous Fitbits, like 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, onboard music storage, automatic sleep tracking, and wallet-free payments on the Fitbit Versa Special Edition with an NFC chip. Fitbit will also sell a variety of accessories, ranging from stain-resistant classic bands to Horween leather, stainless steel links, metal mesh bands, and a designer collection.
"As the wearables category continues to grow, Fitbit Versa fills a critical need in the market by delivering a beautifully designed, full-featured smartwatch that is easy to use at a very competitive price," said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. "Versa brings consumers the advanced health and fitness features Fitbit is known for, along with broad compatibility across mobile platforms and 4+ days battery life to provide users with a better picture of their overall health, making it stand out from any smartwatch available today."
The new smartwatch will launch with Fitbit OS 2.0 for the company's line of wearable devices, which will include a new personalized dashboard for a simplified overview of a user's health and fitness data. Users will be able to see daily and weekly health stats, historical activity, heart rate, exercise summaries, motivational messages, tips, and daily guidance, all from their wrist.

Over time, Fitbit said this dashboard will become more personalized, offering reminders, celebrations, logging, insights, sleep summaries, and social challenges, all with prompts to take actions based on each user's own data. This ongoing personalization aspect of Fitbit OS 2.0 is said to launch later in 2018. Here are a few other features available on Fitbit Versa with Fitbit OS 2.0:
Music on your device: Listen to phone-free music anywhere using Bluetooth headphones like Fitbit Flyer, including 300+ songs from your personal music collection, your favorite stations from Pandora, and now your own or curated playlists as well as Flow from Deezer.

Apps and clock faces you want: Personalize your device by choosing from a wide range of apps and clock faces in the Fitbit App Gallery, including those from Fitbit, Fitbit Labs, and popular brands like E*TRADE, Flipboard, Hue Lights, Nest, Starbucks, Strava, Surfline, United Airlines, Weather powered by AccuWeather, and Yelp. The Fitbit App Gallery has more than 550 apps and clock faces available today, many of which developers are working to make available to Versa users soon.
Fitbit Ace, the kid-focused wearable band, will include many of Fitbit's features in a pared-down hardware model. Kids eight and older wearing the device will see that it automatically tracks steps, active minutes, and sleep on a five day battery. Using a Fitbit family account, parents will be able to monitor and control who their kids connect with in the Fitbit app and other features of the Ace band.


The band will remind kids to move, and reward them for listening to such reminders with collectible badges. Coming soon, Fitbit will launch daily and weekly challenges where families and friends can compete against one another in certain health goals. There will also be a "Family Faceoff" that challlenges family members in a family account to earn the most steps in five days.

Fitbit Ace can be pre-ordered today on Fitbit.com for $99.95, and will launch in Q2 2018. Fitbit Versa is available to pre-order today on Fitbit.com and at select online retailers tomorrow, priced at $199.95. The smartwatch will come in the following colors: black with a black aluminum case, gray with a silver aluminum case, and peach with a rose gold aluminum case. Band accessories will start at $29.95 and cap at $99.95. For those who want the NFC-enabled Fitbit Versa Special Edition, that model will be $229.95. The device will officially launch worldwide in April.


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New Images Reveal Fitbit’s Upcoming ‘Mass Appeal’ Smartwatch

Images of Fitbit's next smartwatch have been obtained by Wearable, following the fitness firm's recent confirmation of a new device launch later this year.

During an investor's call yesterday revealing weaker-than-expected results, Fitbit CEO James Park said the company will introduce a smartwatch in 2018 that will have "mass appeal", seemingly confirming lackluster sales of its Ionic smartwatch (reviewed here).


According to Wearable, the new device will be the successor to the two-year-old Fitbit Blaze and will run the same Fitbit OS that first showed up on the Ionic – software that was largely the result of Fitbit's acquisition of Pebble back in 2016.

The actual name of the new smartwatch remains unclear, but Fitbit is said to want to appeal more to the female market, which is one reason why this device will be smaller than the Ionic and closer to the dimensions of the original Blaze.


Otherwise, the new smartwatch is said to be water resistant to 50 meters and will have an Sp02 sensor for monitoring sleep apnea, but GPS won't be included. The watch will be more affordable than the Ionic, according to Wareable's sources, and will come in four colors: black, silver, rose gold, and charcoal, with a range of straps available.


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Fitbit Pay Launches in U.K. for Starling Bank Customers

Fitbit Pay officially launched in the U.K. on Tuesday, but with only one bank currently supporting the mobile payment platform, access to it remains severely restricted for users of the company's latest wearables.

The Fitbit Pay payment system was introduced as an exclusive feature of the Fitbit Ionic, the activity tracker firm's first attempt at a smartwatch, released on October 1. The digital wallet works in a similar way to Apple Pay on the Apple Watch, but up until now it wasn't available outside of the U.S., Canada, and Australia.


Fitbit Pay users in the United Kingdom need to hold an account with Starling Bank, a newcomer and relative minnow on the financial banking scene, which will undoubtedly leave the large majority of Ionic users unable to take advantage of the payment system, at least for now.

Fitbit has confirmed the company is in talks with other U.K. banking services for future support, but with rivals like Apple Pay, which lists over 25 supporting banks on its official website, as well as Android Pay (over 20 banks) and Samsung Pay all jostling for contention, Fitbit will have a job gaining a foothold in the emerging mobile payment industry.

You can check out our in-depth review of the Fitbit Ionic here. Fitbit Pay is expected to hit other European countries sometime in 2018.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

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Fitbit Announces October 1 Launch Date for New Ionic Smartwatch and Flyer Headphones

It's been almost one month since Fitbit unveiled the new "Ionic" smartwatch and "Flyer" Bluetooth headphones, which at the time were given an unspecific October launch window. Today, the wearables company announced that both devices will be available in retail stores across North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America on October 1.

The Fitbit Ionic is the company's first smartwatch and includes improved GPS, heart rate tracking, water resistance up to 50 meters, contactless payments with "Fitbit Pay," on-board music storage, and more. The smartwatch syncs with the new Fitbit Coach personal training app coming later in October and featuring 90 video and audio workouts, priced at $7.99/month or $39.99/year.


Starting on Sunday, October 1, users will be able to purchase the Fitbit Ionic at Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Kohl's, Macy's, REI, Target, Verizon, and Amazon for $299.95. Fitbit said that retailers will also have a variety of accessory bands in Classic and Sport ($29.95) and a perforated Horween leather band ($59.95).
“We defined the fitness tracker market 10 years ago and look forward to doing the same with the smartwatch category, delivering what consumers want most and have not yet seen in a smartwatch. Ionic offers up to 5 days battery life for 24/7 health tracking and insights, advanced health and fitness features, enhanced heart rate and dynamic sleep tools paired with the smart functionality consumers need on the go to stay in touch and simplify their life,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “These features, coupled with Ionic’s broad compatibility across Android, iOS and Windows platforms, means consumers around the globe never need to choose between their watch and their phone.”
The company's first wireless headphones are also going on sale this Sunday. Called the Fitbit Flyer headphones, the device features a sweatproof design, customizable ear tips, six hours of battery life, and is meant to sync with the new Ionic smartwatch to enable truly wireless workout sessions. The company said that users will be able to buy the headphones at "major global retailers" including Best Buy, Brookstone, Nordstrom, Target, and Amazon for $129.95.


A specific launch date for the new Fitbit Aria 2 Wi-Fi Smart Scale wasn't confirmed, but users can pre-order now on Fitbit.com for $129.95, with retailer availability "beginning Fall 2017."

To prepare developers for the launch of the Fitbit Ionic, the company is debuting the new Fitbit SDK tomorrow, September 26, as a developer preview. The SDK will include resources that developers need to "quickly and easily" design and share apps and clock faces to Fitbit users.

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Fitbit Announces Deal to Bring Glucose Monitoring Data to its Ionic Smartwatch

Fitbit has announced a new partnership with glucose monitoring device company Dexcom that is set to bring diabetes monitoring capabilities to the fitness tracker company's new Ionic smartwatch.

The deal initially means Ionic users will be able to connect a Dexcom device to the Fitbit app and seamlessly transfer up-to-date glucose level data to the smartwatch, making the information more easily accessible on their wrist.

"The collaboration between Dexcom and Fitbit is an important step in providing useful information to people with diabetes that is both convenient and discreet," said Kevin Sayer, President and CEO, Dexcom. "We believe that providing Dexcom CGM data on Fitbit Ionic, and making that experience available to users of both Android and iOS devices, will have a positive impact on the way people manage their diabetes."
There's nothing in the partnership to suggest the Ionic smartwatch will be able to give continuous glucose monitoring readouts on its own when it's released next month – current continuous glucose monitoring systems require a small sensor that's worn under the skin to monitor glucose levels – but Fitbit shares jumped 13 percent on the news, a high for the company since January, when it laid off some of its employees and announced its smartwatch plans.

Dexcom also has a deal with Apple to bring its features to the Apple Watch this year, while owners of Dexcom monitors can already view their glucose data on an Apple Watch – advanced devices by Dexcom include a transmitter, which can display glucose information directly to an iPhone app.

Apple is thought to be working on a non-invasive real-time glucose monitor for a future version of Apple Watch. In April, a CNBC report suggested Apple had a team of biomedical engineers working to develop sensors for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose, with work on the sensors far enough along that the company had started conducting feasibility trials.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly spotted in May testing a prototype glucose monitor that's connected to his Apple Watch. Cook, who is said to be aiming to understand how his blood sugar is affected by food and exercise, has been seen wearing the device around the Apple Campus.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Tags: Fitbit, Dexcom
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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