Fitbit has officially announced its very first smartwatch, called Ionic, which we tend to think comes as a result of the company’s acquisitions of Pebble and Vector. This latest offering lands to Fitbit’s existing portfolio of fitness trackers and fitness watches like Surge and Blaze.
The device boasts the company’s own platform, Fitbit OS, while promising to deliver all the same great activity and sleep tracking, and other metrics that current Fitbit models offer. Also on board are new features only a smartwatch could deliver.
The Fitbit Ionic is a water resistant up to 50 meters with a dedicated swim exercise mode that will track the number of laps, swim duration, and calories burned while you’re in the water.
Because it has a decent screen, for a watch at least, users get on-device coaching that can adapt to your feedback. The device will launch with one dynamic workout, and three static workouts, with additional dynamic workouts available for premium members (more on that in a moment).
The Ionic will also detect when you run, using the built-in GPS to track distance, pace and calories even when you’re not carrying a phone on a run. Also, while running you can store some tunes on Fitbit’s internal storage of 2.5GB that is used for both music and apps. Or you could use your Pandora account to download entire playlists to your wrist-worn gadget.
In addition, with the Ionic’s Bluetooth connectivity, you can connect wireless headphones, such as the new ones that were also announced by Fitbit (again, more on that in a moment), for an even better running experience — as in, sans any wires.
Moving on with the features list, the Ionic comes boasts an NFC support that enables Fitbit Pay, so you could just a tap to any compatible card reader to pay for stuff.
Plus, there are smart notifications for calls, texts, calendar, and many popular third-party apps such as Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Slack, and Snapchat.
Battery-wise, the Ionic promises a 4-day battery life with regular use, or 10 hours with constant GPS or music playback.
New health sensing technology
In addition to all the standard activity tracking we’ve got used to love on Fitbit devices, the Ionic adds new health-tracking capabilities to the mix.
For instance, there’s the improved PurePulse heart rate tracking that will reportedly provide more accurate tracking during exercises like cycling and running.
Also new is the ability to estimate blood oxygen levels, which according to Fitbit, will open up the potential for tracking sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation.
This is arguably the part where those acquisitions of Pebble and Vector come to play.
Like any modern platform, Fitbit OS will have its own app store, which they call the Fitbit App Gallery. Here, users will be able to download watch faces, and apps from Fitbit like Fitbit Coach, Relax, Timer and other. Plus, there will be third-party apps with Fitbit already cornering a few partners, including Starbucks, Strava, and AccuWeather.
Fitbit says the Fitbit App Gallery will continue to grow and will eventually feature apps in multiple different categories such as finance, lifestyle, health, music, sports, productivity, and more.
Pricing and availability
You can now pre-order the Fitbit Ionic on Fitbit’s web page for $299.95. The smartwatch will hit the stores in October, and will be available at retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and others.
In addition to the “regular” smartwatch, Fitbit will also offer a special version with adidas branding. The Fitbit Ionic adidas special edition will be launched at some point next year, featuring a few special training programs on board the device. It is unclear how much this version will cost, though.
The Fitbit Ionic will launch in three different color combos:
- Silver gray tracker and clasp with a blue gray band,
- Smoke gray tracker and clasp with a charcoal band, and
- Burnt orange tracker and clasp with a slate blue band.
Also, users will be able to further personalize their devices with interchangeable bands. For start there will be three different two-toned sports bands (blue gray and coral, black and charcoal, and cobalt and lime) each selling for $29.95; along with hand-crafted Horween leather bands in cognac and midnight blue that will be offered for $59.95 each.
Aside from its very first smartwatch, Fitbit has also announced the following:
Which is a pair of sweat-proof Bluetooth headphones that will retail for $129.95 and will also be available in October 2017.
Fitbit Aria 2
A new and updated version of Fitbit’s smart scale that will retail for $129.95 when it becomes available sometime in the fall of 2017.
New premium guidance and coaching offering
This is Fitbit’s paid subscription service that will allow Ionic users to access the new dynamic workouts. The Fitbit Coach app will launch in fall of 2017 on iOS, Android, and Windows, while the Audio Coaching won’t be available until next year. The premium guidance and coaching will cost $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year.