Consider the premiere of the Fitbit Blaze smartwatch “shots fired” from the leader in fitness wearables against the folks at Apple.
The two have had a tumultuous relationship, to say the least—but today’s unveiling at CES of the Fitbit Blaze, a smartwatch compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile devices is, unmistakably, pitting the company against wearables like the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices.
Available this March for $199, the Fitbit Blaze smartwatch contains a pulse rate monitor, touchscreen, GPS, and the FitStar personal trainer app. In addition to the Blaze’s features, the company is boasting a battery life of up to 5 days—significantly longer than the average 24-30 hours of Apple’s wearable.
While Fitbit fans may be excited for the premiere of the Blaze, investors had another reaction: disinterest. The company’s stock fell to a new low following the announcement at CES, with some noting their concerns over Fitbit’s ability to compete with Apple in the wearable market.
Despite my own satisfaction with the Apple Watch, I don’t see Fitbit’s Blaze to be a problem for the company. Though designed similarly, Fitbit’s smartwatch is essentially a fitness device only—albeit, slightly higher priced than previous models—while Apple’s (and the Android Wear) are communications devices first and foremost. The two may occupy the same small retail space, but provide very different features & benefits.
Time will tell if Fitbit—a company with a loyal following, like Apple—can prove investors wrong once the Blaze hits shelves this Spring.