Alleged Leaked Fitbit Photos Show Upcoming Smartwatch Looks Like a Blaze

Photos emerged online overnight that allegedly reveal the design of Fitbit's first "true" smartwatch, rumors of which we covered last month. The images were originally published by Yahoo Finance and appear to show that the company's upcoming Apple Watch rival looks very similar to the $150 Fitbit Blaze fitness watch, which has been on sale since early 2016.


The watch's square face, physical buttons, and flexible elastomer wristband closely resemble the company's Blaze. Several Fitbit employees who saw the design are said to have complained about it, according to previous reports.

Specifications of the smartwatch, which is said to be codenamed "Higgs" internally, include a color display with 1,000 nits of brightness similar to the Apple Watch Series 2, built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, a full-fledged app store, contactless payments, storage for music, Pandora support, and four days of battery life. The $300 watch was previously thought to have an aluminum unibody design that supports swappable watch bands.

The smartwatch was initially said to be launching this spring, but technical problems have reportedly plagued the product and the company is now thought to be aiming for a fall release.

Fitbit is also rumored to be releasing a pair of Bluetooth earbuds similar in design to Apple's BeatsX buds. Codenamed "Parkside" internally, the $150 wireless earbuds will hang around the neck and be marketed as an accessory for the forthcoming smartwatch.

A lot is riding on the success of Fitbit's upcoming products, after the company faced one of its "largest declines ever" in the fourth quarter of 2016, which resulted in layoffs of about 6 percent of its staff. Although the company remained above Apple Watch in the number of units shipped, it has gradually been losing market share to rivals Apple and Xiaomi.

Tag: Fitbit

Discuss this article in our forums

Alleged Leaked Fitbit Photos Show Upcoming Smartwatch Looks Like a Blaze

Photos emerged online overnight that allegedly reveal the design of Fitbit's first "true" smartwatch, rumors of which we covered last month. The images were originally published by Yahoo Finance and appear to show that the company's upcoming Apple Watch rival looks very similar to the $150 Fitbit Blaze fitness watch, which has been on sale since early 2016.


The watch's square face, physical buttons, and flexible elastomer wristband closely resemble the company's Blaze. Several Fitbit employees who saw the design are said to have complained about it, according to previous reports.

Specifications of the smartwatch, which is said to be codenamed "Higgs" internally, include a color display with 1,000 nits of brightness similar to the Apple Watch Series 2, built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, a full-fledged app store, contactless payments, storage for music, Pandora support, and four days of battery life. The $300 watch was previously thought to have an aluminum unibody design that supports swappable watch bands.

The smartwatch was initially said to be launching this spring, but technical problems have reportedly plagued the product and the company is now thought to be aiming for a fall release.

Fitbit is also rumored to be releasing a pair of Bluetooth earbuds similar in design to Apple's BeatsX buds. Codenamed "Parkside" internally, the $150 wireless earbuds will hang around the neck and be marketed as an accessory for the forthcoming smartwatch.

A lot is riding on the success of Fitbit's upcoming products, after the company faced one of its "largest declines ever" in the fourth quarter of 2016, which resulted in layoffs of about 6 percent of its staff. Although the company remained above Apple Watch in the number of units shipped, it has gradually been losing market share to rivals Apple and Xiaomi.

Tag: Fitbit

Discuss this article in our forums

Fitbit Working On BeatsX-Like Bluetooth Earphones as ‘Proper’ Smartwatch Faces Production Mishaps

Fitbit is gearing up to launch a "proper" smartwatch as a competitor to the Apple Watch, which will include mobile payments features, a full app store, and more, in addition to Fitbit's usual health and fitness features. While that product is predicted to launch sometime this fall -- likely going head-to-head with Apple Watch Series 3 -- a new report from Yahoo Finance today has depicted a troubled road to launch for Fitbit's smartwatch, as well as revealing the company's potential emergence in the Bluetooth earphone market.

Yahoo Finance's report states that Fitbit intends to launch its own pair of fitness-focused Bluetooth earphones, which is believed to help the company expand beyond the wrist and diversify its product lineup. Fitbit's device is said to be "similar in design" to the BeatsX Earphones that Apple launched earlier this year. The Fitbit earphones "will hang around your neck" and launch alongside the new smartwatch in two colors called "Nightfall Blue" and "Lunar Gray."

Apple's BeatsX Earphones

According to sources speaking with Yahoo Finance, Fitbit's smartwatch was initially launching this spring, but GPS problems due to antenna positioning in a few prototypes delayed production to the fall. Additionally, waterproofing became an issue in production, and today's report even noted that "it’s still unclear as of the publication of this article whether the device will launch with the waterproof feature."
If it isn’t waterproof, critics may perceive it to be an inferior product to Apple’s — especially given that the device will launch roughly a year after the Apple Watch Series 2.

“Regardless of whether Fitbit manages to make it waterproof, I think they have to release the watch later this year,” one of our sources familiar with the matter told Yahoo Finance. “It’s literally sink or swim time for them.”
Fitbit's smartwatch is said to include a color display with peak brightness of 1,000 nits, which would make it comparable to Apple Watch Series 2. Similar features that will make it a competitor to Apple and other Android Wear watches are heart-rate monitoring, NFC payments, and on-board music storage (using Pandora on Fitbit). Fitbit could see a slight edge over Apple in the battery life department, with a reported four full days of charge capable on the smartwatch.

Fitbit's device is predicted to cost around $300 and will be housed in an aluminum unibody design that allows users to swap out bands of different styles and colors. Those who have seen a glimpse of the Fitbit smartwatch prototype compare it to the company's current product, the Fitbit Blaze.

The Fitbit Blaze
Yahoo Finance viewed the presentation deck Fitbit showed retail partners like Best Buy (BBY) and Target (TGT) behind closed doors. That deck revealed a general design aesthetic that resembles a product in the company’s current product line: the Blaze.

“It was very retro-looking with the lines and stuff — definitely not sexy,” one source told Yahoo Finance. Several employees who saw the design complained about it, the source said.
To help enter the crowded smartwatch field, Fitbit recently acquired luxury smartwatch maker Vector Watch, as well as popular wearable company Pebble. Fitbit noted that the company is aware there is "a lot of interest in our entry into the smartwatch category," but gave no comments regarding today's news.

Fitbit has had a rough couple of months, ranging from being accused of stealing trade secrets, to facing one of its "largest declines ever" in the fourth quarter of 2016, which resulted in layoffs of about 6 percent of its staff. Although the company remained above Apple Watch in sheer number of units shipped, it has slowly begun losing market share to rivals Apple and Xiaomi.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tag: Fitbit
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Discuss this article in our forums

Fitbit Announces ‘Fitbit Alta HR’ Wearable With Continuous Heart Rate Tracking in Slim Band

Fitbit today announced the Fitbit Alta HR, which the company is calling the "world's slimmest fitness wristband" that has a continuous heart rate monitor. The Alta HR launches just over a year after Fitbit debuted the original Fitbit Alta, which included new "Reminders to Move" to tell users to stand up and move around a bit, like Apple Watch stand notifications.

The main upgrade for the Fitbit Alta HR revolves around its ability to detect the user's heart rate throughout the day, thanks to the company's PurePulse technology. Additionally, the Alta HR will include all of the usual Fitbit benefits, like automatic exercise recognition, sleep tracking, a seven day battery life, smart notifications, and more.

Thanks to the bolstered heart rate technology, the Fitbit Alta HR also has a few improved sleep tracking features. "Sleep Stages" can detect how long each user spends in light, deep, and REM sleep, as well as detect how many times the user wakes up. "Sleep Insights" accumulates the large picture of each user's Fitbit data and actively tries to help "improve your sleep for better overall health."


Sleep Stages will be available on Alta HR, Blaze and Charge 2 Fitbit devices, while Sleep Insights will be available on any Fitbit "that tracks sleep via the Fitbit app."
“Alta HR and these powerful new sleep features demonstrate our continued focus on evolving our innovative technology to deliver deeper, more actionable insights to help our users improve their health,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “The miniaturization of our PurePulse heart rate technology opens up exciting opportunities for future generations of devices and new form factors. Our advances in sleep will provide millions of users around the globe accessibility to invaluable insights that previously could be obtained only through expensive lab tests.”
The company said that the Fitbit Alta HR is 25 percent slimmer than the Fitbit Charge 2, which is Fitbit's other heart rate-compatible wearable. The addition of heart rate monitoring will bolster the Alta HR's ability to better measure calorie burn all day, and subsequently help users stay on track for their fitness goals, according to Fitbit.


Like other Fitbit devices, the Alta HR will also be available in a variety of colors and bands. The basic models come in black, blue gray, fuchsia or coral with a matching aluminum tracker for $149.95. Two special editions include a soft pink classic band with 22k rose gold plated tracker and black classic band with matte gunmetal tracker for $179.95. The Fitbit Alta HR can be pre-ordered today and will launch online and in stores this April.

Although Fitbit remains the leader in the wearable field, the Apple Watch has proven to be a major contender in the market with a strong holiday 2016 boosting consumer knowledge of the Watch, most likely thanks to Apple's marketing pivot from presenting it as a fashion accessory to a workout/fitness companion. The numbers come from research firm IDC, which simultaneously marked the same quarter as one of Fitbit's "largest declines ever," although it still remains atop the market in terms of units shipped and market share.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Watch’s Record-Breaking Quarter Was Opposite One of Fitbit’s ‘Largest Declines Ever’

Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 have proven to be a "magnificent success" for Apple, which recorded its "best quarter ever" in the wearables market, according to the latest data from research firm IDC.

Fourth quarter shipments reflected in millions (Source: IDC)

Apple shipped an estimated 4.6 million Apple Watch units in the fourth quarter of 2016, up from an estimated 4.1 million in the year-ago quarter, according to IDC. Its share of the wearables market, which includes basic fitness trackers, was an estimated 13.6%, down slightly from 14.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Apple closed the gap with wearables market leader Fitbit, which experienced one of its "largest declines ever" in the fourth quarter. Fitbit shipped an estimated 6.5 million fitness trackers in the quarter, down from 8.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Fitbit's market share dropped from 29% to 19.2%, said IDC.

Apple has been heavily marketing the Apple Watch's fitness capabilities as of late, rather than positioning it as a fashion accessory, and this shift in focus has allowed it to grow its presence in the wearables market, according to IDC:
Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 proved to be a magnificent success for the company as it was the company's best quarter ever in the wearables market. The lower entry price point and the inclusion of GPS on the Series 2 along with a completely revamped user interface have helped the company grow its presence. Apple is one of the few companies that has been able to quickly refocus its watch to gain traction in the consumer market and has also been leading the charge on introducing the smartwatch category to the commercial segment.
Xiaomi finished second, between Fitbit and Apple, as its Mi Bands are priced well below most competing wearables, allowing the Chinese company to capture 15.2% market share based on an estimated 5.2 million shipments in the quarter. Xiaomi's market share rose considerably from 9.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Annual shipments reflected in millions (Source: IDC)

Samsung was the fifth largest wearables vendor in the fourth quarter with an estimated 1.9 million shipments and 5.6% market share.

IDC estimates that Apple Watch shipments totaled 10.7 million in 2016 for an estimated 10.5% market share, down from an estimated 11.6 million shipments and 14.2% market share in 2015. The annual data has the same top five rankings as the quarterly data: Fitbit, Xiaomi, Apple, Garmin, and Samsung.

It is important to acknowledge that these are estimated figures, and that shipments do not necessarily reflect sales.

Apple does not officially disclose Apple Watch sales, instead grouping the device under its "Other Products" category in earnings results.

Apple only elected to share that the Apple Watch set all time sales records during the first quarter of its 2017 fiscal year, with CEO Tim Cook noting holiday demand was "so strong" that Apple "couldn't make enough."

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tags: IDC, Fitbit
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Discuss this article in our forums

Fitbit Again Accused of Stealing Trade Secrets From Jawbone

Even though Jawbone has confirmed that it's leaving the consumer wearables market to focus on clinical health products, the company has doubled down on its legal battle with former rival Fitbit, concerning the latter company's alleged theft of trade secrets (via TechCrunch).

The U.S. International Trade Commission has already let Fitbit off the hook for the original claims, but Jawbone is now arguing that the agency only looked at a "limited number of allegations against Fitbit." To back up its argument that the issue remains unresolved, Jawbone referenced in a court filing this month that Fitbit is under investigation by a criminal grand jury concerning the trade secret theft, believing "the issue of what was stolen and by whom remains unresolved."


As of this week, the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security have been conducting a grand jury probe into Fitbit for five months. Fitbit said that it's cooperating with the investigation "to demonstrate, once again, that these allegations are without merit," with a hearing set for February 15 amid the hopes that the case will finally be dismissed.

The battle between the two companies goes back to 2015, when Jawbone claimed that Fitbit hired five Jawbone employees, who in turn brought with them more than 350,000 secret Jawbone files. According to the original lawsuit, Jawbone said "the files included information about materials, sensors and detailed breakdowns of its costs and profit margins."

Fitbit said that once the files were discovered on a cloud-based backup service of a former Jawbone employee, they were immediately turned over to Jawbone. Ultimately, Fitbit argued that Jawbone's new investigation is built on the exact same "fictional allegations" already cleared by the ITC.
The criminal investigation “is based on the almost identical fictional allegations that were fully rejected by the International Trade Commission after a nine-day trial on the merits and that Jawbone falsely asserted on the eve of Fitbit’s IPO,” Fitbit said in Monday’s statement. “Jawbone is now attempting to exert leverage against Fitbit in civil litigation pending in the California state court.”
Fitbit had a case against Jawbone of its own that it dropped last December because "there was no need to pursue the case" when Jawbone was no longer making and selling the products at issue in the lawsuit. Fitbit also cited Jawbone's financial trouble as a reason to end the lengthy court battle. Jawbone said Fitbit's decision to back out was a "misdirection" on Fitbit's part.

Tags: Fitbit, Jawbone

Discuss this article in our forums

Coin Announces Official Shutdown of All Product Services Coming February 28

Smart payments company Coin this week announced the shutdown of its various product services, officially closing product support, social media channels, and the connected Coin app on iOS and Android devices on February 28, 2017. The news follows the discontinuation of all Coin products last May, when Coin was acquired by Fitbit and the company subsequently ceased selling its line of smart payment cards.

With no new Coins available to purchase and its services shutting down, users will no longer be able to add new cards to the device without the mobile app being supported. Coins themselves will continue to work until their batteries die (two years from initial activation), so the company is encouraging users to add any cards they want before February 28.

coin-image-1
With the acquisition of Coin by Fitbit, all business operations ceased on June 13, 2016. The company is no longer manufacturing, promoting, or selling any new devices or products.

Effective from February 28, 2017, the Coin product services will officially be shut down. As a result, support through the Coin website or through social media channels will no longer be available.
The original Coin, as well as Coin 2.0, was a single credit card-sized device that stored a collection of credit and debit cards that users could toggle through with a small button on the front of the Coin. Once the desired card was selected, users swiped Coin like any normal payment card, and the charge went through to whatever card was chosen.

Coin was first announced and began receiving orders in 2013, one year before Apple would launch Apple Pay in 2014, but Coins didn't begin arriving to customers until 2015. Although Coin's shutdown has been clear since the Fitbit acquisition last year, the growing popularity of smartphone mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay undoubtedly became large competitors to Coin's business in 2015 and 2016.

In Fitbit's own press release last year, the company described a deal that focused on the specific acquisition of "Coin's wearables payment platform," although at the time there were "no plans to integrate Coin's wearable payments technology" into its 2016 roadmap. That still leaves future Fitbit devices in 2017 and beyond wide open for an "active NFC payment solution."

Amid acquisitions of Pebble and luxury watch maker Vector Watch, Fitbit has faced lower-than-expected revenue results for the fourth quarter of 2016, leading to cuts of between 5 to 10 percent to its workforce. With Apple Watch gaining ground in the smartwatch space, Fitbit appears to be gearing up to launch a more feature-rich wearable with its own app store, mobile wallet, and more, instead of the activity-focused wearables it currently sells.

Tags: Fitbit, Coin

Discuss this article in our forums

Fitbit Expected to Announce Layoffs in Fourth Quarter Results

Fitbit is set to announce cuts of between 5 to 10 percent to its workforce later on Monday amid lower-than-expected fourth quarter results.

According to The Information, the job cuts are expected to affect between 80 and 160 people across multiple departments and save the company $200 million in costs. The Q4 results will be the second consecutive quarter in which Fitbit has missed its earnings guidance.

fitbit charge and flex
Fitbit is expected to blame the slowdown on a sluggish market, despite Market research data from September that showed a split in the wearables market, with Fitbit's "basic wearables" gaining popularity, and "smart wearables" like the Apple Watch seeing stalled growth.

Despite a portion of the market stalling out, the overall wearable device market was said to have grown 26.1 percent in comparison to the year ago quarter, with Fitbit the leading brand. Additionally, Fitbit's stock rose 7.4 percent on December 27, after reports that its app had become one of the most downloaded in the App Store on Christmas Day.

Fitbit's recent acquisition of Pebble and Vector Watch – along with its rumored interest in Jawbone – suggested the company was increasingly aligning itself with software rather than relying solely on hardware sales, and the reported layoffs could be another part of that plan. Indeed, one source told The Information that Fitbit is aiming to develop its own App Store and open up devices to third-party developers.

Whether Fitbit is planning to launch a more traditional smartwatch with a dedicated app store as part of those plans remains unclear.

Tag: Fitbit

Discuss this article in our forums

Fitbit Acquires European Luxury Smartwatch Maker Vector Watch

Fitbit has made another acquisition in the wearables market, this time buying out European luxury smartwatch maker Vector Watch for an undisclosed price.

Vector Watch only launched in March of last year offering a range of 12 smartwatch models in various fashion-conscious styles. Key features in its line-up include basic activity tracking, phone notifications, and 30-day battery life, with some third-party apps built into the interface. The London-based company announced the buyout in a statement on its website.

vector-watch
Today, we are happy to announce that the Vector Watch team and our software platform are joining Fitbit, the leader in the connected health and fitness market! We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit's experience and global community.
Vector said its integration with Fitbit would have no impact on existing customers, whose smartwatches would continue to function as usual, while technical support and warranties would be unaffected. However, new product features (software and hardware) would not be added.

The buyout comes just one month after Fitbit acquired U.S.-based Pebble for a reported $40 million, signaling the company's intention to continue to invest in software development, despite falling shares and a gloomy outlook for the overall wearables market.

Global shipments in the last quarter fell by more than half compared to last year, according to recent figures by IDC. Despite the numbers, Fitbit remains the market leader with 23 percent share, up from 21.4 percent a year ago, on the strength of its new Charge 2 fitness tracker. The Apple Watch is still the world's best-selling smartwatch, but basic wearables account for 85 percent of the market, putting Apple in fourth place overall with 4.9 percent share and 1.1 million devices shipped in the last quarter.

Tag: Fitbit

Discuss this article in our forums

Pebble Says Existing Smartwatch Services Will Continue to Function Through 2017

Pebble has moved to reassure its customers that software and services will continue to run through 2017, following Fitbit's acquisition of the company last week.

Fitbit bought out Pebble for its software assets, not for its hardware, which has concerned many existing owners of Pebble smartwatches about the continued functionality of their devices. Today, however, Pebble sought to allay fears by confirming in a blog post that services would continue as normal for at least another year.

pebblehealth
Fitbit is going out of its way to keep Pebble software and services running through 2017. To be clear, no one on this freshly-formed team seeks to brick Pebble watches in active service. The Pebble SDK, CloudPebble, Timeline APIs, firmware availability, mobile apps, developer portal, and Pebble appstore are all elements of the Pebble ecosystem that will remain in service at this time.
Pebble said it has "seen a massive influx of community developers teaming up to keep the Pebble watch experience alive, long into the future," but as TechCrunch notes, what that means for third-party apps developed for the smartwatch remains unclear.

In addition, Pebble said that it was working on an update for release in the coming months that will ensure the normal operation of core Pebble functions, including Pebble Health, once the company's cloud services close down.

Tags: Pebble, Fitbit

Discuss this article in our forums