Fitbit unveils a $200 rival to the Apple Watch

Gwen Vasquez
March 14, 2018

Fitbit just announced two new devices.

Fitbit Versa [is] a modern, intuitive smartwatch at an approachable price.

Essentially a re-purposed Alta (the first-generation Alta, not the Alta HR, which added the company's PurePulse heart rate tracker to the mix), Ace is a low-priced fitness tracker created to "make fitness fun" for children.

Announced on Tuesday, the Fitbit Versa is the wearable manufacturer's latest attempt at cracking into the smartwatch market, and by far their best-looking watch-based product to date. The new lineup includes a fitness wearable for everybody called Fitbit Versa, a children's wearable called Fitbit Ace, and an app feature the company calls "female health tracking".

While many of Pebble's smartwatches were characterised by playful rounded corners and refined edges, the Ionic was considerably more utilitarian in design, with a boxy display and sharp corners. Last year, a United Kingdom high school banned fitness trackers and devices that access social media platforms due to worries about negative effects on young people, according to the BBC.

Fitbit has launched a new mass-market smartwatch called the Fitbit Versa, as well as a smartband activity tracker aimed at kids.

The watch itself is about more than just the new software it brings. It has an anodized, ultra-thin aluminum body which is tapered and angled so that it can fit comfortably on both small and big wrists.

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A smartwatch should also interact with your phone for basic functionality in the least. There's also a special-edition Versa model priced at $229.95, which includes NFC and Fitbit Pay capabilities in the US and comes with an exclusive style, featuring woven bands in either lavender or charcoal coloration with either a rose gold aluminum or graphite aluminum case.

Apple Watch-like tricks are also included in the Versa experience.

It comes in a choice of finishes: black, silver or rose gold.

The Fitbit Versa is available for preorder today for $199 on Fitbit's website. There are also Special Edition options in lavender or charcoal, which come with canvas bands that are only available with the Special Edition. Fitbit says rashes can result from wearing the tracker all day, with sweat, water or soap trapped against the skin. It's showerproof and rewards steps, active minutes, and sleep, should your children need encouragement getting outside or getting into bed.

This new device comes with the usual bells and whistles such as 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, on device music and a wallet where users can tap and pay with their Fitbit. According to Fitbit, new Fitbit family accounts are compliant with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other applicable privacy laws that will allow parents to manage and monitor who their kids connect with through Fitbit app.

It will be available in Q2, 2018 across Reliance Digital, Croma, Helios and other major retailers.

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