Fitbit unveils new tracker for swimming

by Linda Olson August 30, 2016, 2:05
Fitbit unveils new tracker for swimming

The event was to show off some of the features of Fitbit's new devices.

Fitbit Inc. unveiled a series of virtual "adventures" to pair with its fitness-tracking wristbands Monday as the company tries to maintain its sales momentum. There's also Global Positioning System on-board for route mapping and pacing/distance tracking. It's not almost as slight and stylish as the Misfit Ray, but it's a lot more discreet than the bulky Microsoft Band 2 or Fitbit's own Surge. You'll also find connected Global Positioning System capabilities that pairs with your smartphone for mapping out running routes - another feature available on competing trackers.

Fitbit via CNN
Fitbit via CNN

The Flex 2 is fully waterproof-a first for Fitbit. It includes Reminders to Move, a new feature that displays friendly messages and give you a small vibration that encourages you to stay active throughout the day. It will track pool swims including laps, duration, and calories burned. It also attracts fingerprints easily, an issue shared by the Fitbit Alta. While that's good news for its rivalry with Pebble - whose Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2 not only display notifications, but have a built-in microphone so users can respond - it makes some products in the Fitbit line-up more redundant. I wasn't able to try this feature as the software on my demo unit is not yet final, but the default vertical, digital display works well since it stacks numbers and stats on top of one another in an easy-to-view manner. Tory Burch, Public School, and Vera Wang for Kohl's will all be offering stylish bands and accessories for the device. Unlike the Charge 2, there's no way to trigger specific activities manually. Many other competitors have devices which do most of the things that either of these devices offer. It would seems the Flex 2 is Fitbit's attempt to create a smaller, customizable device that is more attractive to a wider audience, especially when considering its array of premium accessories, including "luxe, premium mirror-finish bangles in silver stainless steel, and 22k-plated gold or rose gold stainless steel, or elegant lariat-style necklaces in silver stainless steel or 22k-plated gold stainless steel". Fitbit's share of the market slipped to just under 30% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and under 25% in the first quarter of 2016, International Data Corp reported. The company's position in the fitness tracking industry is well-established, and these new products should do well in solidifying its name as the go-to brand for fitness trackers.

But Fitbit isn't relying on new hardware alone to beat the market. FIT stock is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), and it is expected to release its next quarterly earnings report in early November. Our ranking system has beaten the S&P 500, yielding an average return of 25% per year for the last 29 years!

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