Fitbit says it will release a new smartwatch later this year

The Fitbit Blaze is currently Fitbit's most robust device, but its feature set still falls far behind other smartwatches. (Source: Fitbit)
The Fitbit Blaze is currently Fitbit's most robust device, but its feature set still falls far behind other smartwatches. (Source: Fitbit)
The wearables giant Fitbit has announced that their highly-anticipated smartwatch should be ready in time for the holiday season later this year. The smartwatch was delayed earlier this year, and while there isn't a hint of a specific release date, the device should be ready by Q4.

Smartwatches are in an interesting spot right now. Sales of Android Wear devices seem to have stalled, the Apple Watch is leveling off, and Fitbit (the maker of what is currently one of the most popular wearable lines) has been acquiring smartwatch startups like Pebble and Vector over the past year. This last point may be unfolding into something much larger; Fitbit announced yesterday that its highly anticipated smartwatch, which was delayed earlier this year, would be ready for a holiday season release.

On an earnings call, Fitbit CEO James Park said that the device would feature Fitbit’s signature health and fitness tracking tools as well as GPS, 5 BAR water resistance (up to 50 meters), and a battery that will last for days. This puts the wearable in direct competition with other smartwatches, like the Apple Watch and the numerous Android Wear-based devices.

This is a segment with which Fitbit has struggled in the past. As new smartwatches have started adding heart rate monitors and improved fitness tracking capabilities over the past year, Fitbit has seen its revenue decline. Most Fitbits are good enough for step counting, heart rate monitoring, and rudimentary workout metrics, but other wearables can answer phone calls, send text messages, check email, and much more.

Fitbit did beat expectations for the second quarter, raking in about US$353 million (compared to the US$341 million that analysts predicted). However, the company also reported year-over-year revenue contraction of 55%, likely due to aging hardware and the lack of any new “must-have” devices. In fact, Samsung recently overtook Fitbit in wearable sales.

One could argue that the smartwatch market is becoming so saturated that a new device wouldn’t make much difference. However, a fresh smartwatch from a major player like Fitbit will definitely make a bigger splash than from companies with a smaller presence in the wearables market like Xiaomi or Asus. However, Fitbit needs the ripples created by a new smartwatch to be big and long-lasting; whether or not a new release will refresh what is quickly becoming a stagnant market remains to be seen.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 08 > Fitbit says it will release a new smartwatch later this year
Sam Medley, 2017-08- 3 (Update: 2017-08- 3)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.