Skip to main content




Fitbit unveils stress-tracking smartwatch with Google deal pending

Fitbit unveils stress-tracking smartwatch with Google deal pending

FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol for Fitbit is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

OAKLAND, Calif.: Fitbit Inc on Tuesday unveiled a fitness tracker and two smartwatches, including one that purports to help monitor users' stress levels, as the company's pending sale to Alphabet Inc's Google remains mired in antitrust reviews globally.

The Fitbit Sense, priced at US$329, replaces the Ionic as the 13-year-old company's most expensive smartwatch, excluding a limited edition model. It also is the first to measure electrodermal activity, or how well skin conducts electricity, which varies with sweating and can indicate stress. The feature is pending approval from health regulators.

Fitbit research scientist Samy Abdel-Ghaffar said a new stress score would help users decide whether to take on a fresh project or instead take a break, sleep early or meditate.

The company also announced the Versa 3 smartwatch, priced at US$229 and upgraded from its predecessor to include a GPS sensor and phone-calling functionality; and the Inspire 2 activity tracker, running US$100 with a tweaked design.

The devices ship in late September, with pre-orders available immediately.

The company has lost wearables market share to Apple Inc and others since going public five years ago. Fitbit announced last week that a new content subscription to stoke revenue growth has 500,000 paying users, but shares barely moved.

About 5per cent of wearables shipped last year globally came from Fitbit, behind leader Apple's 32per cent share, according to tracker IDC.

Aiming to challenge Apple together, Google agreed to buy Fitbit for US$2.1 billion last November. But competition regulators in the UK, United States and many other jurisdictions are weighing whether the acquisition would unfairly deepen Google's data about users' habits. Fitbit said the reviews may delay closing the deal to 2021.

Meanwhile, Google and Fitbit are partnering. Sense and Versa 3 by late this year will allow users to communicate with the Google Assistant helper, similar to Fitbit's existing integration with Inc's Alexa.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: Reuters


Also worth reading