Fitbit's fitness bands are reportedly getting more smartwatch-like with the $US250 Fitbit Surge.
In leaked marketing materials published by The Verge, Fitbit refers to the Surge as a "fitness superwatch" with GPS location tracking, round-the-clock heart rate monitoring, and a larger display than Fitbit's previous efforts. It'll launch in the "coming weeks" for $250.
The band itself is broader than previous Fitbit models, more like a regular watch band. It tapers wider and thicker as it meets the display, which can show the time, workout details, and notifications for calls and text messages. Users can also control music playback, presumably on a paired smartphone.
Why this matters: It seems inevitable that smartwatches will start to put the squeeze on dedicated fitness trackers. But while other companies have taken this as a cue to get out of the hardware business or push toward commodity status, Fitbit is doubling down on premium devices. The Surge is still a fitness tracker, but one that looks better-equipped to compete with multi-purpose smartwatches.
Fitbit's next moves
The Surge isn't the only new fitness band that Fitbit may have in the works. Last week, Gizmodo reported that Fitbit is about to launch two more bands, called the Charge and Charge HR. Both bands are reportedly wider than the original Fitbit Flex, with a larger screen that shows the time, fitness stats, and caller ID. The HR model will also include heart rate monitoring, according to leaked marketing materials.
The new Charge watches look nearly identical to the Fitbit Force, which the company recalled in February after some users complained of skin rashes. Similar complains have since popped up about the Fitbit Flex, and Fitbit now says it will warn users about the presence of nickel--a common allergen--and offer sizing guidelines so people don't wear the bands too tightly, the New York Times reports.
There's no word on when the new watches will launch. "We are working diligently on our next-generation trackers and will announce news about them as soon as we can," Fitbit said in a statement to the Times.