Wearables are going to be everywhere in 2016, and whether you’re wearing them as a band or a piece of clothing, you’re going to be seeing them where (excuse the pun) ever you go. For Fitbit, 2016 is about making the smartwatch and wearable more useful than ever.
Finding a middle ground in the whole wearable world can be a little chaotic for health gadget makers.
On the one hand, you have the fitness wearable that tracks steps, incline, and possibly heart rate, taking all the information and throwing it into an app and/or social network, turning the whole fitness thing into something we can talk about with others.
And yet on the other hand, you have a steady flow of smartwatches providing a bit of a second screen experience for the smartphone, and this area is beginning to encroach on the market space where fitness wearables tend to operate.
What can a company do to stay in the game?
They find a middle ground, which appears to be what Fitbit is doing with the announcement of a new product this week at CES in Las Vegas.
The device in question is called the “Blaze”, and it’s been built on Fitbit’s health tracking heritage but designed with the whole smartwatch craze in mind.
More than just a phase, smartwatches are expected to stay, and with that in mind, Fitbit has crafted the Blaze to include not just the time like you’d expect from a watch, and not just fitness tracking technology like you’d expect from a Fitbit, but also more to do with workouts and exercise, a sense of style, and then a way of connecting to your life.
First up is the fitness, and that’s going to be a pretty important feature from a company with the word “fit” in the name.
In the Blaze, you can expect the typical assortment of activity tracking complimented by an automatic exercise recognition system able to work out when you’re playing sports or doing aerobics and classifying the movement accordingly in the app.
Heart-rate tracking is now part and parcel of the Fitbit package with the Blaze, and Fitbit says this is handled by the PurePulse technology found in its Surge and Charge HR products from the last generation. Meanwhile, one of the other features from the Surge is also finding its way into the Blaze, with a GPS on-board.
New to the fitness wearable package, however, is an on-screen workout system, which Fitbit delivers through its “FitStar Personal Trainer”, a system to provide instructions and animated images for popular workouts.