Fitbit unveils a $200 rival to the Apple Watch


It boasts a much nicer design than its predecessor, the disappointing Ionic, and comparisons can easily be made with the Apple Watch. But Fitbit hopes its focus on health and fitness - and its lower price point - will be key differentiators. The new wearable, which is essential a scaled down version of the company's entry level Alta tracker, is aimed squarely at kids aged eight to 13. It's an activity tracker, so it has a thinner and smaller profile than a standard smartwatch. It intends to encourage children to stay active.

The battery life on the Versa also isn't clear but Fitbit claims it will last over four days, which should be quite good considering you'll only need to recharge it around twice a week.

Fitbit has put in several safe guards in place for young users.

This includes a new personalised dashboard that provides a more simplified, intuitive and holistic view of your health and fitness data. Although it lacks a built-in Global Positioning System and a cellular connection option, which the Apple Watch has, it boasts a battery life of up to four days (the Apple Watch lasts about 18 hours). With numerous same features at a less expensive price, it may soon be hard to justify shelling out hundreds of dollars for a luxury Apple Watch when the Fitbit Versa can do similar things for just $200 - $50 less than the base Apple Watch Series 3. The Versa doesn't allow you to download songs from Apple Music or Spotify, but it does have enough internal storage to store mp3 files (so you can upload songs directly from an iTunes library, for example, and save them to the smartwatch).

That's something of a negative on a £199.99 watch, which might deter runners who want specific details about their activity. Coming in at $200 is far easier for most consumers to swallow than what they'd fork over for an Apple Watch. The gadget received mixed reviews.

Fitbit is taking another stab at the smartwatch market after its first attempt with the Ionic fell short of expectations. "There is a significant opportunity for us to gain more [market] share to launch more mass appeal devices in the category". Apple shipped 8 million wearable devices during the fourth quarter, while Fitbit fell behind to second, shipping 5.4 million units during the same time period.

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This is all part of Fitbit's push to expand into new demographics. U.S. or Australian pricing has yet to be confirmed, so that may be a bit different when we hear from Fitbit. "We had always planned a portfolio of products".

Some schools have already been using regular Fitbits.

But critics have expressed concern about introducing fitness trackers to kids at such a young age. That will extend to reminders and social challenges later in the year.

Fitbit acquired Pebble, a company widely credited for kickstarting the smartwatch industry in 2016, predominantly for its software assets.

Later in 2018, Fitbit will roll out an update that it says will let the dashboard personalize itself to you over time.

Smart notifications also work on the Fitbit Versa, so you'll be able to receive messages from a variety of apps right through to your wrist.