Fitbit Says It Won’t Ignore Fitness Trackers With Introduction of Charge 3

August 20, 2018, 1:00 PM UTC

Fitbit on Monday introduced a third generation update in its top-selling Charge line of fitness trackers, as the company moves to offer a broader array of new products for the holiday shopping season beyond just smartwatches.

The new Charge 3, which will start at $150, adds a larger touch screen, waterproofing, and improved sensors for monitoring heart rates and other biometric data. The wearable wristband also gets more fashionable, with an array of different colors and straps and a new, quicker and simpler mechanism for switching straps.

The Charge 3 revamp follows Fitbit’s winning introduction of its Versa smartwatch back in April. CEO James Park has said future growth depends on cracking the smartwatch market, where consumers may spend double or triple the amount they pay for trackers. But the company still gets almost half its revenue from trackers.

Park says the company won’t neglect either end of the wearable market and he expects the decline in tracker sales to bottom out soon. “Our commitment to consumer choice and ability to meet the demand of millions of users by offering a range of products, from trackers to smartwatches, will enable us to expand our share of the overall wearables market,” Park said in a statement.

Fitbit could use another hit. Revenue in the first half of this year dropped by 16% from 2017, although Park says the company will return to growth in the second half after several tough years. And Fitbit’s stock price has fallen almost 20% since early July over fears that the growing trade war between the United States and China could slap tariffs on its products.

Competition in the wearable category remains intense, as well. In addition to a flood of cheap fitness trackers from Asian manufacturers, Fitbit faces a new Samsung smartwatch introduced two weeks ago and an expected fourth-generation update to Apple’s (AAPL) Apple Watch.

The new Charge 3 is at the premium end of the tracker market. Unlike more expensive smartwatches, it can’t run a wide variety of apps, but it still can pass on notifications from a phone and has the Versa’s popular female health tracking feature. The update’s larger and brighter OLED screen isn’t far behind many smartwatches, either, and some models include the wireless payment feature from Fitbit’s smartwatches. And with seven days of claimed battery life, it outlasts any major smartwatch on the market.

The tracker will be available for preorder, with a black strap and graphite aluminum case or a blue gray strap with a rose gold case, starting on Monday for $150, with deliveries expected in October. A special edition with additional colors and the wireless pay feature will go on sale later for $170. An array of other bands, including some in Horween leather, will also be available.

While the Versa was a hit for Fitbit, the company’s sales of trackers appear to have been plummeting. Fitbit’s (FIT) second quarter revenue from smartwatches—a category it wasn’t even in a year ago—reached $165 million, up from $74 million in the first quarter. But that left all other revenue, almost entirely from the sale of trackers, at just $135 million compared to about $353 million in the second quarter of 2017.

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