Fitbit debuts new smartwatch

Fitness-tracking company takes aim at Apple

FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol for Fitbit is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol for Fitbit is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Wearable device maker Fitbit Inc. on Monday launched its newest device, the Ionic smartwatch — with features ranging from fitness tracking to contactless payment — as it gears up to compete with rivals such as Apple Inc.

Once the market leader in wearables, Fitbit recently has struggled due to fierce competition and had earlier blamed a shift among consumers toward feature-rich devices and smartwatches for its revenue decline.

Ionic smartwatches will feature GPS, heart-rate tracking, water resistance up to 164 feet, Fitbit Pay, on-board music, multiple clock faces and a battery that will last more than four days, the company said in a statement.

“Over the coming months you will be able to add eligible American Express cards, as well as MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards from top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe,” Fitbit said.

The watch also has a new sensor technology — relative SpO2 sensor — for estimating oxygen levels in the blood that have the potential to track sleep apnea among others.

With a price tag of $299.95, Ionic is priced above Apple Watch’s starting price of $269.

“Fitbit can take some market share from Apple by appealing to those who are more focused on fitness, however, we do not expect this to be a significant share of Apple’s overall smartwatch sales,” Wedbush Securities analyst Alicia Reese said.

Ionic will be available for sale from Monday on Fitbit’s website and at some online retailers from Tuesday, the company said in a statement.

The company on Monday also launched Aria 2 smart scale and Flyer wireless headphones.

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