Fitbit carve out the future of fitness with first ever smartwatch

Fitbit is to take its first step into the smartwatch arena with the release of the Fitbit Ionic. The move has been anticipated ever since Fitbit acquired Pebble and Vector, two companies with some of the best engineering talent in the smartwatch space. Early indications are that this watch will remain a fitness tool primarily, but new applications will turn it into a smart device.

James Park, Co-Founder and CEO of Fitbit, commented on the release: “With Ionic, we will deliver what consumers have not yet seen in a smartwatch – a health and fitness first platform that combines the power of personalisation and deeper insights with our most advanced technology to date.” The new smartwatch will run on the Fitbit OS operating system and is to include a third-party platform for apps such as Strava.

Here’s a taste of the features we have to look forward to from the Fitbit Ionic:

Accurate GPS tracking: They claim the position of the GPS antenna within the nano-moulded watch case is ideal GPS tracking. The tracking should work whether you’re in a remote area or on a busy high street.

Blood oxygen monitoring: The Fitbit Ionic will come with a SpO2 sensor for checking your blood oxygen levels. This tool is useful for people who have asthma and emphysema, as well as athletes trying to improve their oxygen range.

Swim exercise mode: Swimmers will be happy to know that this Fitbit is going to be waterproof to a depth of 50 meters. The swimming mode will count how many laps you’ve completed and tell you how many calories you’ve burned.

Make payments with Fitbit Pay: This is one feature that’s going to take the Fitbit from a one-dimensional health watch to a more practical gadget. Now, you’ll be able to leave your wallet at home and make payments at a touch of your watch.

Training guidance with Fitbit Coach: Fitbit Coach is the new app that combines recorded video workouts with audio guidance. This feature won’t arrive until 2018 but will likely make it easier to keep your training on track.

The expected development of third-party applications to integrate with the Fitbit Ionic will make the smartwatch one of the best fitness watches out there. But, as an all-around smartwatch, it will have certain limitations.

The Fitbit Ionic’s design

The Fitbit Ionic would look out-of-place anywhere other than a gym or running track. The band is perforated to make it breathable. As a result, you can see small indents lining the strap – great for sportswear, but less appealing at a dinner or formal event. The face is also angular, which will put off anyone who prefers a rounded watch face.

Fitbit Ionic Release

There are three coloured straps available: blue-grey, charcoal and slate blue. The slate blue watch is pretty funky, but most will opt for the charcoal for its toned down, neutral look.

It’s safe to say the Fitbit Ionic doesn’t give off the classy vibes of rival smartwatches, such as the Apple Watch 2 and Moto 360. It will attract a slightly different kind of person. Specifically, those who want a fitness monitor first and foremost, caring less about its worth as a fashion accessory.

The battery life

It’s important to point out the battery life: a whopping four days on a single charge (or 10 hours with GPS tracking on). That’s an impressive capacity that easily puts it on par with the Apple Watch 2.

Early thoughts

We’ll have to wait until the smartwatch’s release to put it through its paces, but it looks like the Fitbit Ionic is going to be top dog for fitness features. It will have more workout modes than other smartwatches, including those for weights and interval training. Plus, it promises to track your workout with more accuracy than any device already on the market.

The new smartwatch won’t compete with manufacturers such as Apple when it comes to design and overall richness of functionality. But as a device for making fitness easy, accessible and convenient, the Ionic has a lot of potentials.