Wearable Tech

Fitbit Enters Smartwatch Arena, Replaces Recalled Device That Caused Rashes

Boasting a 70 percent share of the current wearables market, Fitbit is throwing its hat into the smartwatch arena with the FitBit Surge -- a $250 device slated to arrive next year.

In addition to various health-tracking sensors, the Surge features a touchscreen display and works in conjunction with nearby smartphones to notify users of texts and calls, marking the company’s first-ever foray into connected-watch territory.  

The company is marketing the device as a "fitness super watch." GPS tracking means that runners can monitor their routes and the battery lasts seven days.

Related: As Wearables Get Hot, These 6 Industries Are Poised to Capitalize

Fitbit’s smartwatch arrives weeks after Apple whet appetites with the announcement of its Apple Watch, which also hits shelves in 2015. Both launches will forego the ever-lucrative holiday season. And given this overlap, there have also been rumors that Apple plans to stop selling Fitbit devices within its retail stores.

At the same time as the Surge, Fitbit announced two new fitness-tracking wearables to replace the Force, which the company recalled last February after 1.7 percent of wearers reported rashes. The Fitbit charge is the “Force reinvented,” the company says. Retailing for $130 and available now, new features include automatic sleep detection and caller ID.

Finally, the Fitbit Charge HR is like the Charge but with continuous heart rate sensors. It retails for $150 and will be available next year. All Fitbit devices pair with the company’s proprietary app, which is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. 

Related: Microsoft Finally Makes a Move in the Smartwatch Sector

Edition: October 2016

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