Fitbit is arguably the biggest name in fitness trackers, having consistently garnered more and more recognition outside the tech world since the company’s founding in 2007, and especially since the launch of the Flex, Fitbit’s first wrist-worn tracker, in 2013. The company’s line of fitness trackers have been the subject of a David Sedaris essay, and even the recipient of a jab from SNL’s Drunk Uncle just this past weekend.
But, with more and more companies venturing into the wearable spectrum, including tech behemoths Google and Apple, Fitbit is continuing to look for ways to remain at the forefront of consumers’ minds when it comes to fitness trackers. Today, as reported by multiple sources including The Verge, the company announced three new products to its ever-expanding line, including two fitness bands and what the company describes as a “fitness super watch.”
The two fitness bands, the Charge and Charge HR, are essentially replacements for the Force, a tracker the company was forced to recall and eventually cease selling in early 2014 after multiple reports among users of skin irritation. The former of the new bands is almost identical to the Force, presumably without the irritation issues.
It works similarly to the Flex, tracking basic health statistics such as steps taken and distance traveled, while also tracking users’ sleeping habits. The biggest, and most apparent, difference between the Flex and Charge is the inclusion of an OLED screen on the latter that can display the time, steps taken and even the name of an incoming caller when set up with the user’s smartphone. Whereas the Charge is almost a part-for-part remake of the Force, it’s sister, the Charge HR, adds a new and interesting functionality.
The “HR” stands for heart rate, and the device is said to use technology developed by Fitbit to determine a wearer’s heart rate using LED lights to detect blood volume changes in the wrist. Otherwise, the two devices are nearly identical, save for price (the Charge comes in at $129.95, whereas the Charge HR will cost you $149.95) and battery life. According to Fitbit, the Charge will give users seven days of use and the HR will only give five, about the same amount of time as the Flex.
The final addition to the Fitbit line announced today is the most advanced, as well as the most expensive. The $249.95 Surge is what the company calls a “Fitness Super Watch,” and it monitors all the usual health metrics Fitbit users have come to expect, plus heart rate and GPS tracking, a functionality especially useful for avid runners. The wearable also has a touchscreen display with an array of watchfaces, music controls, and the ability to display call and text notifications. It won’t provide users with the functionality of a smartwatch like the Moto 360, but it will last much, much longer. Fitbit says the Surge will give users seven full days of battery life.
Consumers eager to get their hands on the new products can head to the Fitbit store, or any retailer where Fitbit products are sold, to pick up the Charge. The Charge HR and Surge, however, won’t hit the shelves until 2015.
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