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Fitbit launches fitness tracker for kids and female-focused watch


Fitbit has unveiled its first fitness tracker aimed at children and a new smartwatch with more features for women, as it looks to re-energise sales after losing its lead in the wearable technology market to Apple.

Aimed toward kids aged eight and older, the brand new $99 Fitbit Ace is predicated on the hardware from its Alta wristband, and options customized software program for teenagers and fogeys in addition to a rugged strap. It’s going to monitor steps, exercise and sleep, awarding badges to children that transfer round extra and nudging them with vibrating reminders. 

Fitbit additionally launched the female-focused Versa smartwatch, which might be geared up with know-how for monitoring a person’s menstrual cycle and the way it impacts different facets of their well being, corresponding to complications or cramps. The watch will value $199 when it goes on sale subsequent month.

That’s $100 cheaper than last year’s Ionic that has did not promote in addition to hoped, which will even embody the brand new companies. “Whereas Ionic is doing properly, it didn’t fairly meet our expectations,” stated James Park, Fitbit’s chief government, pointing to its high-price level and a few key options lacking at launch.

Fitbit is seeking to re-energise gross sales after it swung to a loss in the fourth quarter of 2017. It warned final month that its 2018 revenues would are available beneath Wall Avenue’s expectations, sending its shares to an all-time low beneath $5.

Apple stole Fitbit’s longstanding lead within the wearable-tech market by unit volumes within the fourth quarter, based on market researcher IDC. The corporate’s Watch offered an estimated 8m models within the run-up to Christmas, IDC stated, up 58 per cent, in contrast with Fitbit’s 17 per cent decline to five.4m units. 

By including extra female-friendly options, Fitbit is hoping it may possibly stand out towards the Apple Watch and different decrease priced rivals corresponding to Huami, a Chinese language wearables maker that lately went public within the US. On Monday, Huami launched its Amazfit Cor machine exterior China for the primary time, costing $79. 

“Smartwatches are usually extra of a males’s product as we speak,” Mr Park stated, pointing to the bigger units based mostly on Google’s Android Put on software program platform. 

“Our technique has all the time been to create a portfolio of those units,” he added. “We realise it is not a ‘one dimension matches all’ on this market.” 

Promoting health trackers to kids is a much less crowded market than grownup smartwatches, with just a few brand-name merchandise corresponding to Garmin’s Vivofit Junior accessible. Analysis group Gartner has forecast youngsters below 13 may make up 30 per cent of the smartwatch market by 2021, earlier than mother and father give them a smartphone. 

Childhood weight problems is on the rise however promoting to younger individuals comes with a better regulatory normal than common well being trackers. Fitbit’s says the Ace is compliant with the US Kids’s On-line Privateness Safety Act and can meet different authorized necessities in nations the place it launches over the approaching months. 

The corporate stated younger customers might be partitioned off from Fitbit’s social networking options and inspired to give attention to completely different well being metrics, corresponding to sleep time moderately than calorie burn. The Ace doesn’t embody GPS for location monitoring though it would assist mother and father keep up a correspondence with their kids by vibrating when a paired smartphone rings.



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