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Fitbit Sets Sale Date for Ionic Smartwatch

Fitbit said its new $300 smartwatch, called the Fitbit Ionic, will go on sale on October 1.

Meant to pose a stronger challenge to Apple’s smartwatch, the Ionic includes third party apps, mobile payments capability and, of course, all of Fitbit’s exercise and fitness features. It doesn’t connect to cellular networks on its own, however, the marque feature in Apple’s (AAPL) just announced third generation watch that starts at $400.

Fitbit’s new $130 wireless headphones, called Fitbit Flyer, will also go on sale on October 1. Fitbit had unveiled the two new devices at the end of August, but specifying only that the hardware would go on sale in the month of October. Fitbit also said it could promise customers five days of battery life, up from the initial promise of four days.

The new Ionic release will trail Apple’s release of its Series 3 watch on September 22 by just over one week, giving the two flagship wearable devices plenty of time to battle for the holiday shopping season.

Retailers including Amazon (AMZN), Best Buy (BBY), Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), Kohl’s (KSS), Macy’s (M), REI, Target (TGT), and Verizon (VZ) will carry the new devices, Fitbit (FIT) said.

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The news impressed investors, who sent Fitbit’s stock price up 3% to $6.48 in midday trading on Monday. Fitbit’s shares are still well below the $20 price they debuted at in the company’s 2015 initial public offering. But they have rallied 25% since the beginning of August on excitement about the new smartwatch.

Also, Fitbit said that starting on Tuesday it would begin distributing a beta preview of its software development kit, or SDK, to allow any company to develop apps for the Ionic. Up until now, only a limited number of partners, including Starbucks and Pandora, have been allowed to develop apps for the new watch.