CES 2016: Fitbit Offers Formidable Competition to the Apple Watch

Fitbit Blaze
Image © Fitbit.

Jan 13, 2016

The CES 2016 event, which was held from 06-09 January 2016, in Las Vegas, brought with it some interesting new gadgets and concepts, smart cars, new televisions, virtual reality and much, much more. However, one of the highlights of the show, as far as the mobile devices industry is concerned, was the introduction of a new smartwatch from Fitbit – the Fitbit Blaze. This sleek-looking fitness watch, which comes with a color touchscreen display, verily heralds a new era for the company’s line of fitness devices.

Most importantly, it is aimed to offer stiff competition to the Apple Watch – it can perform the same functions; and it is available at a much lower price as well.

The Fitbit Blaze

The basic model of Fitbit Blaze, which is priced at $199, includes an elastomer band. It tracks sleep and fitness, also offering notifications for texts, calls, calendar appointments and music control. Compatible with the 3 major mobile platforms, viz. iOS, Android and Windows, it will be available for sale in March this year.

One interesting feature of the smartwatch is that its bands are interchangeable. This means that it can also double up for office wear or even for party wear. Accessories include leather bands, additional elastomers and a steel link band. Hence, this watch aims to serve both fitness and fashion freaks. 

Apart from the above-mentioned features, Fitbit Blaze has partnered with FitStar for onscreen workouts.

It comes with GPS for real-time exercise tracking and PurePulse, which tracks the heart-rate of the user. Additionally, the smartwatch offers long battery life, lasting up to 5 days and 5 nights.

Fitbit Charge and Fitbit Surge are already quite popular, especially with users in North America. The company has attracted many positive reviews from the media for its superior watches.

With the introduction of this new device, the establishment hopes to further grow and evolve in the field of fitness wearables.

Fitbit Introduces Wellness among Corporates

In order to widen the spectrum of its customers, Fitbit has developed a unique wellness program, mainly targeting the corporate sector. This program focuses on engaging users, encouraging them to monitor their health and welness in real time, thereby leading healthier, stress-free lives.

Being one of the earliest companies to introduce fitness wearables in enterprise, the company also has a B2B branch, which develops back-end tools for businesses. It sells both its hardware and software to companies, at discounted rates. This ensures steady returns for the company, while also ensuring customer loyalty over the long term. This move additionally helps the company retain its edge over other competitors as well; especially over the Apple Watch, which it considers its prime rival.

At the moment, Fitbit’s strategy seems to be working out as planned. The company stated that it had captured 50 of the Fortune 500 companies as customers. It also said that 20 leading business establishments had been added recently to its long list of customers.

These companies include big players such as GoDaddy, BMC Software and Barclays.

Challenges Faced by Fitbit

One of the major challenges that Fitbit faces is to maintain its customer base. It has generally been seen that smartwatch users start with much enthusiasm, which fades away all too quickly. Once the initial excitement is over, they tend to lose interest and abandon the device altogether. Apple Watch users too registered about a 6 percent drop rate last year. For other devices such as Fitbit, however, that rate has been much higher, at over 40 percent.

The Blaze initially received mixed reactions – the company stock dropped by 13 percent on the day following its announcement. The company, however, has reiterated that this was just an initial reaction to the new device and that the figure was in no way an indication of future performance levels for the smartwatch.

Companies would be willing to invest in smartwatches only if they perceived a clear value on their investment. Each company has a different measure of return of investment as far as wearables are concerned. While some focus on keeping track of employees’ general productivity and efficiency, others aim to increase employees’ engagement and involvement with the smart device they have invested in.

If Fitbit really wants to succeed in enterprise, its new device would have to perform remarkably well in the corporate sector and prove to be immensely beneficial to business establishments. Incidentally, its devices can already connect to Salesforce. Though it does not directly tie up with HR systems, it does offer developers a range of APIs that could make it possible in the near future.