Technology

Fitbit launches new smartwatch to rival Apple

Fitbit Inc. has unveiled its long-awaited smartwatch that doesn’t require a tethered smartphone in an attempt to challenge Apple’s latest iteration of the product.

The Fitbit Ionic, which will become available in October, is priced at $299.95, below the Cupertino-based company’s most recent smartwatch but above Apple’s Series 1 Apple Watch. The “uncoupled” smartwatch offers certain functionalities, like listening to music and paying for items, without having to be electronically tethered to a smartphone. However, in order to access messaging and notification features of the device, users have to connect their phones. For this reason, analysts expect Fitbit to gain more market share with the release of Ionic, especially given the company’s focus on fitness and its early leadership in wearables.

The new smartwatch is touted as being particularly convenient for fitness enthusiasts since it can be used during swimming, to a depth of 50 meters, while tracking the activity. It also provides personalized, guided workouts with videos on screen, along with a more accurate heart-rate tracking feature. Moreover, subscribers of Pandora Medium’s premium service can listen to up to 300 downloaded songs on their Fitbit smartwatch without having to use phones. Finally, similarly to its predecessor – Fitbit’s smart fitness watch Blaze – Ionic has a battery life of over four days, superseding that of the Apple Watch.

In addition to the Ionic watch, Fitbit is introducing Bluetooth headphones, dubbed Fitbit Flyer, for $129.95 and an updated version of its smart scale, Aria 2, at the same price.

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