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charlesarthur : fitbit   36

Apple and Fitbit numbers show smartwatches turning into a winner-take-all market • CNBC
Ari Levy:
<p>At the end of 2018, Apple controlled 50% of the global smartwatch market in terms of units shipped, according to Strategy Analytics. Fitbit was second at 12.2%, followed by Samsung, which sells Android-powered devices, at 11.8%.

In its effort to stay competitive, Fitbit has been slashing prices, which resulted in a shrinking of its gross margin, or the profit left after subtracting costs of goods sold, to 34.5% from 39.8%.

Fitbit cited weaker-than-expected sales of its Versa Lite device, a lightweight smartwatch that it introduced earlier this year, for its disappointing numbers and lowered the midpoint of its revenue guidance for 2019 to $1.46bn from $1.56bn.

Following its after-hours plunge, Fitbit is now worth less than $1bn. It has lost 82% of its value since its IPO in 2015.

Park is trying to reduce his company’s reliance on device sales and focus more on premium services, which will create a “longer lasting relationship with users while changing perception of products and services from a nice to have to need to have,” the Fitbit CEO said on Wednesday’s earnings call.</p>

Fitbit’s full-year revenue is about what Apple sells in wearables in a month. Now imagine that Samsung sells even less, and that other Android Wear companies sell less than that. Who’s really making profit in wearables?
Fitbit  wearables 
19 days ago by charlesarthur
Fitbit's new Versa Lite smartwatch is all about the fitness basics • Engadget
Chris Velazco:
<p>At $160, the Versa Lite is about $40 cheaper than the original, and the company hopes it'll be enough to sway people who have never wanted a smartwatch before.

Thankfully, the Lite provides almost everything that made the original such a great workout companion. It's rated for the same four-ish days of battery life as the standard Versa, and should track steps, heartbeats and calories burned with the same level of precision. It uses the same 1.34-inch display and will show you your notifications without any fuss. It can handle prolonged swims as well as its more expensive sibling, too, and it packs all the same exercise modes. All of the Versa's accessories can attach to the Lite, and vice versa. The Lite is even fully compatible with the female health tracking services Fitbit launched last year (even if they still leave some of Fitbit's users wanting). For newcomers to fitness and smartwatches alike, the Versa Lite has the basics nicely taken care of.</p>


If you nail fitness and messaging, you pretty much have 75% of the functionality needed from a smartwatch down. The other 25%, though, is harder: app control, weather, even two-factor (I use Authy on Apple Watch a surprising amount).
fitbit  versalite  smartwatch 
march 2019 by charlesarthur
Police use Fitbit data to charge 90-year-old man in stepdaughter’s killing • The New York Times
Christine Hauser:
<p>On Sept. 13, a co-worker of Ms. Navarra’s went to the house to check on her because she had not showed up for her job at a pharmacy, the report said. The front door was unlocked, and she discovered Ms. Navarra dead, slouched in a chair at her dining room table.

She had lacerations on her head and neck, and a large kitchen knife was in her right hand, the report said. Blood was spattered and uneaten pizza was strewn in the kitchen. The coroner ruled the death a homicide.

Detectives then questioned Ms. Navarra’s only known next-of-kin, her 92-year-old mother, Adele Aiello, and [stepfather] Mr. Aiello. Mr. Aiello told the authorities he had dropped off the food for his stepdaughter and left her house within 15 minutes, but he said he saw Ms. Navarra drive by his home with a passenger in the car later that afternoon.

Investigators obtained a search warrant and retrieved the Fitbit data [from Ms Navarra's AltaHR worn on her wrist, which measured her heartbeat] with the help of the company’s director of brand protection, Jeff Bonham, the police report said…

When Ms. Navarra’s Fitbit data was compared with video surveillance from her home, the police report said, the police discovered that the car Mr. Aiello had driven was still there when her heart rate stopped being recorded by her Fitbit.

Bloodstained clothes were later found in Mr. Aiello’s home, the document said. He was arrested on Sept. 25.</p>


When I was younger, some sci-fi stories had the idea of monitors which rich people wore to monitor their heartbeat, so that if they were killed, the killer wouldn't get away. Turns out they're available in your local store.
fitbit  data  murder 
october 2018 by charlesarthur
Fitbit heart data reveals its secrets • Yahoo Finance
David Pogue:
<p>Before you freak out: Fitbit’s data is anonymized. Your name is stripped off, and your data is thrown into a huge pool with everybody else’s. (Note, too, that this data comes only from people who own Fitbits — who are affluent enough, and health-conscious enough, to make that purchase. It’s not the whole world.)

Most of what you’re about to read involves resting heart rate. That’s your heart rate when you’re still and calm. It’s an incredibly important measurement. It’s like a letter grade for your overall health. “The cool thing about resting heart rate is that it’s a really informative metric in terms of lifestyle, health, and fitness as a whole,” says Scott McLean, Fitbit’s principal R&D scientist.

For one thing — sorry, but we have to go here — the data suggests that a high resting heart rate (RHR) is a strong predictor of early death. According to the Copenhagen Heart Study, for example, you’re twice as likely to die from heart problems if your RHR is 80, compared with someone whose RHR is below 50. And three times as likely to die if your RHR is over 90.

Studies have found a link between RHR and diabetes, too. “In China, 100,000 individuals were followed for four years,” says Hulya Emir-Farinas, Fitbit’s director of data science. “For every 10 beats per minute increase in resting heart rate, the risk of developing diabetes later in life was 23 percent higher.”

So what’s a good RHR? “The lower the better. It really is that simple,” she says. Your RHR is probably between 60 and 100 beats a minute. If it’s outside of that range, you should see a doctor. There could be something wrong.

…Fitbit’s data confirms a lot of what cardiologists already know. But because the Fitbit data set is ridiculously huge, it unearthed some surprises, too.

“I was a researcher in my past life,” says McLean. “You would conduct an experiment for 20 minutes, then you’d make these huge hypotheses and conclusions about what this means for the general population. We don’t have to do that. We have a large enough data set where we can confidently make some really insightful conclusions.”</p>


Some of it really is counterintuitive - such as these on heart rate by age, and against BMI.
<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/_II0_Yl2yUrn.QUZMKi8Lw--~A/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAwO2g9OTAw/http://media.zenfs.com/en/homerun/feed_manager_auto_publish_494/442dccd6135f34bdff510bdfc1c01a6d" width="49% /><img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/4Uja4sjJi1XZyMLANlAdVQ--~A/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAwO2g9ODUw/http://media.zenfs.com/en/homerun/feed_manager_auto_publish_494/00ece9c24523548d939650fd7e3d25c6" width="49%" />

It would be great to be able to analyse this data in more detail - but Fitbit's not making it public.
fitbit  health  data 
august 2018 by charlesarthur
Fitbit's current-quarter revenue forecast misses estimates • Reuters
<p>Wearable device maker Fitbit Inc’s forecast for current-quarter revenue missed Wall Street estimates, hurt by a drop in sales of fitness trackers.

Shares of the company fell 1.6% to $5.41 in after-market trading on Wednesday after the company said it expects a 19% drop in the second-quarter revenue.

The company said it sold 2.2m devices in the quarter at an average selling price of $112 per device, below analysts’ estimate of 2.33m devices, according to financial data analytics firm FactSet.

Fitbit said it expects revenue for the current quarter to be in a range of $275m to $295m, below analysts estimate of $309.9m, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In April, Fitbit announced the worldwide launch of its latest smartwatch ‘Versa’ after Chief Executive Officer James Park promised to launch a more ‘mass appeal watch’ in 2018 compared with ‘Iconic’, the company’s first smartwatch that had failed to impress.</p>


You have to go back to 2014 to find such a low number of devices sold. Revenue fell 18%. It's only a matter of time before it gets rolled up by someone like Google (which needs a wearables business that actually works for it, unlike WearOS).
fitbit  wearable 
may 2018 by charlesarthur
Fitbit will use Google Cloud to make its data available to doctors • TechCrunch
Brian Heater:
<p>For Fitbit, the deal means moving a step closer toward healthcare legitimacy. At a recent event, CEO <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/13/an-interview-with-fitbit-ceo-james-park/">James Park told us</a> that health was set to comprise a big part of the consumer electronics company’s plans moving forward. It’s clear he wasn’t quite as all-in with Jawbone, which shuttered the consumer side entirely, but there’s definitely money to be made for a company that can make legitimate health tracking ubiquitous.

The plan is to offer a centralized stop for doctors to monitor both electronic medical records and regular monitoring from Fitbit’s devices. Recently acquired Twine Health, meanwhile, will help the company give more insight into issues like diabetes and hypertension.

No word yet on a timeline for when all of this will become widely available.</p>


Fitbit really needs this business-to-business side to thrive; its consumer business is dying on its feet.
fitbit  google  doctor 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Xiaomi could be just the hero GoPro needs • Bloomberg Gadfly
Tim Culpan:
<p>GoPro's problem is that it hasn't done much in 16 years. Its product line is little changed, with mere iterations of the same tiny rugged camera, and the company still relies on its home market for the bulk of sales. Consider that in 2004 - when GoPro released its first camera - Apple Inc.'s hottest product by units was the iPod.

The few attempts to diversify have failed. An entry into the drone market in 2016 lasted less than 15 months at a time when DJI and others were enjoying booming growth. Asia accounts for just 21% of revenue.

Xiaomi, meanwhile, can't be accused of standing still. The Chinese smartphone startup has its fingers in so many pies that it's hard to keep up. So it makes sense that it would consider making a a bid for GoPro, as The Information reported. Xiaomi may offer up to $1bn, but doesn't want to overpay, the news website said.

A tie-up with another device maker is exactly the future I envision for GoPro. Right now it's a technical feat to film a day on the slopes, then take it back to show on the TV in your ski lodge. For many, it's just easier to shoot with an iPhone and a selfie stick, which is the crowd Woodman should be chasing. A combination with Roku Inc., the provider of streaming content players, is one I have advocated for a while. Xiaomi has MiBox, as well as routers and other connected devices.

A $1bn outlay for Xiaomi shouldn't damage its balance sheet, and the upside could be immense.</p>

Agree - this could be just what GoPro needs (though I imagine a wailing at the idea of an American company being bought by a Chinese one). For good measure it could buy Fitbit too, which also needs a white knight while its smartwatch business seeks liftoff.
Xiaomi  fitbit  gopro 
april 2018 by charlesarthur
Fitbit’s Versa is the smartwatch the Ionic should have been • TechCrunch
Brian Heater:
<p>The Versa looks exactly like the leaks predicted, with a smaller casing design that has more in common with Pebble’s design language (and, for that matter, the Apple Watch) than the fugly Ionic. It’s a “squircle,” and more to the point it’s thin and light, and will fit a lot more wrists than its last device. That will, hopefully, help broaden the product’s appeal for many among the female user base who may have been put off by the unwieldiness of the Ionic.

<img src="https://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/dscf0106.jpg" width="100%" />

In fact, the company’s doubling down with its appeal for a female audience. Version 2.0 of the watch operating system brings targeted tracking for female users that incorporates menstrual cycle data into the overall health tracking picture. The company also, thankfully, began delivering on the promise of more apps a few months back, which means the product will have a stronger foundation than anemic selection Ionic offered over time. The new OS should bring improved, personalized reminders as well, though that’s “coming later in 2018,” according to the company.

The Versa’s screen measures 1.34 inches — which makes it smaller than Apple’s 38mm model. It’s certainly light though, as advertised, and the design language is a major upgrade over the Ionic. It’s actually got most of the Ionic’s features on-board, as well, including both fitness and sleep tracking, heart-rate monitoring and onscreen workouts. The company claims the battery should last around four days on a charge, with normal use — though we’ll be happy to put that claim to the test when we get a review unit.</p>


Looks a zillion times better than the Ionic, and priced at $200 it might have a chance. And Fitbit needs it to be a hit - the fitness band business is dying on its feet.
smartwatch  fitbit 
march 2018 by charlesarthur
Fitbit Ionic review: A great fitness tracker, a mediocre smartwatch • Macworld
Michael Simon:
<p>Fitbit has leveraged its Pebble acquisition to create a brand new foundation for apps, and you’ll get a handful of them at launch: Weather from AccuWeather, Pandora, Starbucks, and Strava, along with a few stock Fitbit apps, including Exercise, Coach, Wallet, Timers, Alarms, Relax, Settings, and Today.

That’s a pretty weak selection to start with, but it might be easier to overlook if any of the non-fitness-related apps did something useful. Aside from Timers and Alarms, which do what you’d expect, Ionic’s apps are frustratingly limited, with most offering single-page and in some cases, single-use functionality. For example, the Starbucks app is nothing more than a place to store your card. And the Wallet app (the logical place for your Starbucks card) merely offers instructions for how to make payments (by holding the left button).

That’s right, Ionic includes an NFC chip for on-the-go payments. The means yet another payment service (Fitbit Pay, natch), and it works like any other: pull up a card and hold the screen up to a checkout reader. But you can’t add cards without the phone app and Ionic only stores one at a time. It’s clearly designed for athletes who want to leave their wallet behind when on a run rather than someone who wants to abandon cash and credit cards.

You might have noticed a few key smartwatch apps that are missing from Ionic: messages, phone, mail, and maps. As it stands, you can’t do any of those things on the watch. Notifications will alert you to incoming messages and calls, but you’ll need your phone handy if you want to interact with them. It’s a very hands-off affair that might have been novel with the first Pebble way back when, but today’s smartwatches are much more than mere conduits for our phones.</p>


The Ionic seems to have lots to recommend it on the fitness front, and the music storage and NFC elements. It's the compatibility with smartphones which creates the problem for Fitbit. That, and Apple selling products with better "smartwatch" functionality above and below its $300 price.
fitbit  ionic 
september 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit well-positioned with new ionic smartwatch • Kantar Worldpanel
<p>Contrary to gloomy forecasts for some vendors resulting in part from the Apple Watch attracting much of the attention and enthusiasm, activity trackers continue to hold a strong lead in the market, making up 65% of the installed base versus 35% for smartwatches. But the momentum belongs to the smartwatches, which have experienced growth rates of more than 50% year-over-year, while the base for activity trackers grew just 15% during the same period.

In the US, Fitbit dominates the overall wearables space. Nearly half (47%) of all US wearables owners have a Fitbit. While 16% of owners in the wearables category have an Apple Watch, Apple dominates the smartwatch category, with a 41% share. Apple has performed very well in terms of wearables customer satisfaction, with buyers rating the Apple Watch an 8.6 out of 10. Fitbit customers give that company a slightly lower satisfaction rating (8.2 out of 10), but Fitbit’s latest offering, the Charge 2, draws level in satisfaction with the Apple Watch, also at 8.6 out of 10…

…Unlike the rapid growth seen in demand for smartphones, there does not appear to be a significant group of potential buyers for wearables waiting in the wings. Amongst those who do not currently own a wearable, a mere 4.6% tell us they will “probably” or “definitely” purchase one in the next 12 months.

Of those that intend to purchase, 39% say they will buy a smartwatch, 30% a fitness tracker, and 31% remain undecided.</p>


So about 1 in 20 looking to buy a wearable; overall, 1 in 50 looking for a smartwatch. Out of 100 million smartphone users, that would be 2m sold. Apple's doing better than that, so either demand is falling or it's very uneven.
wearable  watch  apple  fitbit 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
The Fitbit Ionic might be the smartwatch that unseats Apple • Gizmodo
Alex Cranz:
<p>After months of leaks and hints, Fibit has finally revealed its newest wrist wearable: The $300 Fitbit Ionic. Fitbit claims up to four days of battery life, a refined OS that pairs nicely with devices running iOS, Android, and Windows, and a brand new sensor for tracking your heart rate. This smartwatch, which visually calls to mind the lovechild of an Apple Watch and a Fitbit Surge, is a natural progression for the huge wearable company. Just last year, it snapped up notable smartwatch makers Pebble and Vector for a reported $38 million. And between the almost-perfect Surge and the incredibly unattractive Blaze, Fitbit has been interested in the smartwatch sector of the wearable market for a while. This is the culmination of that interest. </p>


Wow! you think. With that headline, can there be any problems? Read on:
<p>It’s profoundly ugly—like every Fitbit that’s come before, but it could be technologically cool enough that you might not care.</p>


A device that you wear on your wrist which is visible to everyone, where there are non-ugly (or less-ugly) alternatives? You're not going to care that it's "profoundly ugly"? Priced at $300 - same as an Apple Watch - this is going to have to attract Android users, but there's little evidence they're interested in smartwatches.
fitbit  ionic  smartwatch 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
New Fitbit smartwatch pictures reveal heart rate shake-up • Wareable
Hugh Langley:
<p>There are three base colour variants of the watch: silver case with navy strap, rose gold case with blue strap, and a darker case with a black strap. The pictures reveal it will also have the same button configuration as the Fitbit Blaze – two on the right side, one on the left – and like on the Blaze the back of the watch protrudes, presumably to get a better lock on that optical heart rate sensor.

<img src="https://static1.wareable.com/media/imager/24815-edf8761e52689807cba34515769af0f2.jpg" width="100%" />

More interesting though is the sensor itself. Fitbit has, like many other wearable companies, traditionally used green optical sensors for tracking heart rate, but these new images reveal two red lights. If it's also using infra-red, which that bottom blue optical could be, it suggests Fitbit's smartwatch may have a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels in the blood. It could also use red light technology to get a more accurate read on heart rate, heart rate variability, or other physiological parameters that green PPGs struggle with.</p>


It's not beautiful, but those are renders, probably from internal work, rather than the object. Wareable says "a lot is resting on Fitbit delivering with its apps – something it was rumoured to be struggling with", but I'd question exactly how many apps a smartwatch needs.
fitbit  smartwatch 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit hit with lawsuit over haptic feedback patents • ReadWrite
David Curry:
<p>Fitbit has been hit with a lawsuit from Immersion, a developer of haptic feedback technology, claiming that the Alta HR and Charge 2 maker has infringed on its patents.

Immersion asks for Fitbit to cease manufacturing of all infringing devices, which, we suspect, includes all fitness trackers currently on the market. Fitbit makes use of haptic feedback for notifications, breathing exercises, and touch control, found on all trackers.

“We are disappointed that Fitbit rejected our numerous attempts to negotiate a reasonable license for Fitbit’s products, but it is imperative that we protect our intellectual property both within the U.S. and through the distribution chain in China,” said Immersion CEO, Victor Viegas.

It should be noted it is not the first time Immersion has taken a large tech company to court over haptic feedback technology. In 2016, it took Apple to court over its 3D Touch technology; some media outlets have labelled Immersion a patent troll.</p>


Yet more problems for Fitbit.
fitbit  patent 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit chief confident new smartwatch will deliver • FT
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>Fitbit’s forthcoming smartwatch will feature more precise GPS tracking, a music player and new biometric sensors, according to chief executive James Park, who insisted that the product remained “on track” despite reports of delays.

Over the longer term, the device could pave the way for new medical applications that would require regulatory approval, Mr Park told the Financial Times, as the company looked to make its wearable technology a “must-have” for consumers by becoming more integrated into the healthcare system.

“The product is on track to meet our expectations and the expectations that we’ve set for investors,” Mr Park said. “It’s going to be, in my opinion, our best product yet.”

The long-awaited smartwatch, which analysts expect to go on sale this year, is a make-or-break product for Fitbit as it faces a resurgent Apple Watch and lower-cost competition from China.</p>
fitbit  smartwatch 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit acquires the Vector smartwatch startup, as the wearable giant continues its roll-up • TechCrunch
Mike Butcher:
<p>Well this is a relatively fast exit. In March last year a brand new smartwatch brand appeared, hoping to offer something different. Combining the incredible engineering talent in Central Europe’s Romania with the business smarts of London and former executives from Citizen watches, the Vector startup carved out a very credible slot in the “affordable luxury” smartwatch sector.

Only a year later, Vector has been acquired for an undisclosed price by global wearable giant Fitbit. Founder and CTO Andrei Pitis confirmed to TechCrunch that the company was acquired for its software platform and design team. This does not, however, signal a move into the luxury smartwatch sector by Fitbit.

What is does confirm is that Fitbit is continuing its roll-up of talent associated with watches, wearables and fitness devices. In November, Fitbit acquired a pioneer in the smartwatch space, Pebble, with all its engineering talent being sucked into Fitbit. The same fate now awaits Vector, which raised only a small amount of cash, but turned heads with its clever hardware and software integration and design smarts.</p>


Race against time for Fitbit. Has to get to successful smartwatches because the step trackers aren't going to sustain them.
fitbit  vector  smartwatch 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit's smartwatch project hits more hurdles ahead of debut • Bloomberg
Mark Gurman and Selina Wang:
<p>Hard hit by the sinking popularity of its fitness trackers, Fitbit has bet its future on the smartwatch. But such devices are typically wedded to an ecosystem of compatible devices, apps and services that lure then lock people in. While Fitbit’s watch can play music and handle payments, according to people familiar with the product, a discussed partnership with Spotify failed to materialize and technical challenges mean the app store may not be ready when the watch arrives this fall. Many app developers, meanwhile, are unenthusiastic about Fitbit’s watch.

“I’m more focused on the big boys like the Apple Watch and Android Wear,” says Damian Mehers, who developed a version of Evernote for Samsung’s Galaxy Gear watch. “I could consider developing for Fitbit if there was a compelling device and a large enough user base. I think it will be challenging to establish credibility.” Like many other developers, Mehers says the challenge is exacerbated by the fact that wearable devices still haven’t caught on widely, meaning they’re less desirable to write apps for than a smartphone.

In an emailed statement, Fitbit said the development of the smartwatch and third-party apps “are on track” and that “any claims that the developer program is struggling is false.” The company said it’s “well positioned to succeed.”</p>


The Apple Watch doesn't have a particularly big app store; that isn't the key element of a smartwatch. What does matter is tight integration with whatever platform you attach to.

So the Fitbit will have to do Android Wear better than Android Wear, because it won't be able to get tighter integration than the Apple Watch on iOS. Android is by far the bigger platform, but its attach rate for smartwatches is lamentable.
fitbit  smartwatch 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit and Intel circle for Moov buyout • Wareable
James Stables:
<p>Our source revealed that Moov has been talking to Intel's partnership team about a possible buyout, which would see Intel add Moov's algorithm to its tech.

"They have had half a dozen calls and two meetings," our source said. "Conversations have been around adding Moov to their Curie offering due to the algorithms that Intel simply cannot duplicate."

Recounting a conversation with Intel's partnerships exec, Intel has become interested in an acquisition after it "missed with their wearable devices in the past with companies such as Basis." Our source said that Intel believes that buying Moov "allows them to offer more through their licensing arm of the company."

Of course, Intel is only one half of the story. We'd be surprised if Fitbit wasn't looking to buy Moov to add to its fitness proposition, yet our source had less detail on this particular aspect of the buyout. "With Fitbit, these rumours popped up in the past five weeks. All have been based around their wellness and initiative."

The company has already been busy snapping up companies for the Fitbit smartwatch project, namely smartwatch starter Pebble and luxury-wannabe Vector. But would Moov be part of that too?

"That's what the Moov guys initially thought," said our source. "But the algorithm wouldn't work in the watch. As you know one must wear Moov on their ankles sometimes."</p>


I get the feeling the writer is putting too much on the one source, who knows about Intel but not Fitbit, which is struggling to incorporate its recent acquisitions. Adding Moov too feels like an overreach which it isn't even considering.
fitbit  moov  intel  wearable 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Leaked photos: Fitbit’s new headphones and troubled smartwatch • Yahoo Finance
JP Mangalindan:
<p>Yahoo Finance has obtained photos of Fitbit’s (FIT) first “proper” smartwatch and first-ever pair of Bluetooth headphones due out this fall.

As Yahoo Finance previously reported in April, the San Francisco-based fitness tracker company is gearing up to release both devices later this year after a series of production snafus delayed the smartwatch project.

“It was originally planned for this spring to likely get ahead of whenever Apple plans their normal fall announcement,” a source familiar with the matter told Yahoo Finance. “Fitbit always likes to try and get in front of it.”

As you can see in the photo [in the article], the watch resembles a somewhat more evolved version of a product in the company’s current product line, the Blaze.

“It was very retro-looking with the lines and stuff — definitely not sexy,” another source previously told Yahoo Finance of the upcoming smartwatch. “Several employees who saw the design complained about it.”

The smartwatch, codenamed “Higgs” internally, will sport a color display with 1,000 nits of brightness similar to the Apple Watch Series 2, a built-in GPS chip, heart-rate monitoring, the ability to make touchless payments, the ability to store and play music from Pandora (P), and four days of battery life between charges, according to the two sources familiar with the matter.

All those features will come housed in an aluminum unibody design, which will let users swap watch bands when it eventually hits shelves this fall for around $300.</p>


So it's got a smartwatch that's being described as "troubled" and some Bluetooth headphones. It doesn't feel like this story is going well. Meanwhile, Fitbit announces its Q1 results later on Wednesday.
fitbit  smartwatch 
may 2017 by charlesarthur
Man suspected in wife's murder after her Fitbit data doesn't match his alibi • The Guardian
Jamiles Lartey:
<p>Officials say that the timeline given by Richard Dabate, accused of killing his wife in the couple’s Ellington, Connecticut, home in 2015, is at odds with data collected from her Fitbit, a wearable device that tracks physical activity.

“To say it is rare to use Fitbit records would be safe,” Lancaster, Pennsylvania, district attorney Craig Stedman told the Hartford Courant.

Dabate told police that a masked assailant came into the couple’s suburban home at around 9am on 23 December 2015 and subdued Dabate with “pressure points” before shooting his wife, Connie Dabate, with a gun that Richard Dabate owned. He said that the man killed his wife as she returned through their garage from a workout at the local YMCA. Dabate claimed that he eventually chased the assailant off with a blowtorch.

But the Fitbit tells a different story. According to data from the device, which uses a digital pedometer to track the wearer’s steps, Connie Dabate was moving around for more than an hour after her husband said the murder took place. Not just that – it also showed she had travelled more than 1,200ft after arriving home, contrary to Dabate’s story that she was killed as she arrived. The distance from her vehicle to the location she died is “no more than 125ft”, according to police documents…

…The arrest warrant shows a detailed breakdown of all her movements and locations from waking up through the time she was killed. From the sync locations and activity monitor, investigators were able to produce a timeline down to the minute of when she left for the gym, the duration of her trip home, when she walked into the garage, her intermittent moving around in the home, and when her body stopped moving.

The Fitbit is far from the only challenge Dabate faces in his legal fight. Computer records show that he lied about where he was when he sent an email to his employer that morning. He said he was on the road when he was really at home.</p>
fitbit  data  crime 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit’s new smartwatch has been plagued by production mishaps • Yahoo News
JP Mangalindan:
<p>Fitbit’s first “proper” smartwatch and first-ever pair of bluetooth headphones are due out this fall after a series of production mishaps delayed the project, Yahoo Finance has learned.

The fitness tracker company’s smartwatch project has been a troubled one. Production problems have forced Fitbit to push an original spring launch to this fall, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

“In one of the more final prototypes, the GPS wasn’t working because the antennae wasn’t in the right place,” one of those sources told Yahoo Finance. “They had to go back to the drawing board to redesign the product so the GPS got a strong signal.”

Fitbit’s design team also ran into problems making its smartwatch fully waterproof, even though that’s a key design element for the Apple Watch Series 2. Indeed, it’s still unclear as of the publication of this article whether the device will launch with the waterproof feature. If it isn’t waterproof, critics may perceive it to be an inferior product to Apple’s — especially given that the device will launch roughly a year after the Apple Watch Series 2.

“Regardless of whether Fitbit manages to make it waterproof, I think they have to release the watch later this year,” one of our sources familiar with the matter told Yahoo Finance. “It’s literally sink or swim time for them.”</p>


This is Fitbit which, don't forget, acquired successful smartwatch maker Pebble back in December for $23m.
fitbit  smartwatch 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit defends step goal after experts criticise 10,000 a day target as meaningless • Daily Telegraph
James Titcomb:
<p>“Fitbit’s mission to help people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration, and guidance to reach their goals,” a spokesman said.

“We understand that there is no ‘one size fits all’ option in fitness, so our users are able to customize all of their health and fitness goals, including steps.”

It comes after experts <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/21/10000-steps-day-myth-fitness-apps-can-do-harm-good/">said</a> many apps and fitness devices have no real evidence base, and that the 10,000 steps a day goal was based on a small study of Japanese men dating back to 1960.

“Some of you might wear Fitbits or something equivalent, and I bet every now and then it gives you that cool little message 'you did 10,000 steps today’,” Dr Greg Hager, an expert in computer science at Johns Hopkins University, told delegates at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston.</p>


There are steps, and there are steps.
fitbit  steps 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit attempts to reassure investors after holiday sales slump • FT
Tim Bradshaw:
<p>Fitbit attempted to reassure investors that a shortfall in holiday sales was just a temporary problem, after its unit sales fell by a fifth in the fourth quarter of last year.

The San Francisco-based company said it swung to a net loss of $146.3m in the three months ending in December, in full results published on Wednesday.

Despite concerns about the longer-term future for wearable devices, Fitbit said its problems in the second half of last year were due to saturation among “early adopters” and discounting by competitors, as consumers swapped basic fitness trackers for more feature-rich products such as smartwatches.

Sales of Fitbit’s wristbands grew just 3% last year to 22m units, while the number of people actively using its devices grew 37% year on year to 23.3m.</p>


Its forecast for this current quarter is $270m-$290m - about 10% below analysts' estimates. Cutting staff. Trying to move to smartwatches while cheaper competitors eat the bottom end. It's going to have to do this well or it's dead.
fitbit 
february 2017 by charlesarthur
December 2016: There must have been a lot of Fitbit trackers under the Christmas tree • Recode
Ina Fried:
<p>
Fitbit may have reason for some holiday cheer.

Its app rose to be No. 1 among free apps on Apple’s iOS app store on [Christmas day] Sunday, suggesting a lot of the company’s fitness trackers were unwrapped on Christmas morning.

Amazon’s Echo also appears to have been popular, with its Alexa app coming in at No. 4.

The other top spots were filled by apps not associated with Christmas presents, such as Snapchat, Super Mario Run and YouTube.</p>

Given that Fitbit just warned of a terrible quarter, with soft sales in Asia and the US, one can determine that position on the App Store on Christmas day is not necessarily an indicator of, well, anything useful.
Fitbit  appstore 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit to cut jobs after weak Q4 • The Information
Reed Albergotti:
<p>Fitbit is to cut between 5% and 10% of its employees, the company will announce on Monday, while disclosing that its fourth-quarter results were below expectations. The disclosures are the latest sign of a slowdown in the wearables market, according to two people briefed on the news.

About 1,600 people work at Fitbit so the job cuts affect between 80 and 160 people, across multiple departments. Fitbit is also undertaking a reorganization which, along with the job cuts, will reduce costs by about $200m. The company’s board voted on the job cuts on Wednesday, one of these people said.</p>


Fitbit confirmed the numbers after the story was published: expected revenue for Q4 at $572m-$580m, well below its previous forecast of $725m-$750m. (That's about 25% down.) Cutting 110 staff. Sales particularly poor in Asia - where it probably has more competition from cheap Chinese products.

Separately, The Information also reported that <a href="https://www.theinformation.com/jawbone-was-late-paying-employees?eu=pO6sd6bP1BXcSrJAa5zJ1g">Jawbone was a week late paying staff</a>. That's a sign of a company under severe financial stress. (It couldn't make a $1m payment last August.) Expect a firesale or closure by the middle of the year.
fitbit  jawbone 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
Fitbit off to slow start in 2017 as devices pile up, report says • Bloomberg
Selina Wang:
<p>The maker of wearable fitness trackers halted production in mid-December because the devices were piling up at retailers and suppliers amid disappointing sales, according to a report by the firm published Tuesday. Demand so far this year is “characterized as weak,” Cleveland Research said, suggesting analysts’ estimates for 2016 fourth-quarter earnings may be too high.

“The start of the year has been bad with Fitbit,” research analyst Ben Bollin wrote in the note. “There are some concerns partners may not get paid for all of the product they have built because demand is so weak," he wrote, citing comments from a supplier. “Partners had to completely stop production for Fitbit because they are swimming in product.”</p>


Wow. Demand reckoned to have been low through the fourth quarter. And yet the Fitbit app was high on the list of free apps in the iOS store. One to keep an eye on this year. (Thanks <a href="https://twitter.com/Charlesknight/">@charlesknight</a> for the link.)
fitbit  wearable 
january 2017 by charlesarthur
The elephant in the smartwatch room • Above Avalon
Neil Cybart:
<p>There have been only three legitimate players in the smartwatch industry.

Apple; Garmin; and Samsung.

Combined, these three companies have represented 78% of smartwatch shipments over the past two years. Even more remarkable, no other company has come close to these three in terms of unit sales. Since the beginning of 2015, only seven companies have shipped more than 200,000 smartwatches in any given quarter. Out of those seven, one will soon be broken up in a fire sale (Pebble), another just announced it was getting out of smartwatches (Motorola), and two have shown little interest in releasing new smartwatches (Huawei and LG). This leaves Apple, Garmin, and Samsung. 

Even more astounding, the "Other" category, the usual industry catch basin for dozens of other companies, is on track to account for just 11% of smartwatch shipments in 2016. One group of companies found in the "Other" category are the original sellers of utility on the wrist - watchmakers. The Swiss watch industry continues to dabble with connected watches. However, one would be correct in questioning the motivation guiding some of these companies. TAG Heuer, apparently in an attempt to claim its position as one of the more successful Swiss watchmakers when it comes to smartwatches, announced it will sell just 75,000 connected watches in 2016. Those kinds of sales make the Swiss watch industry completely irrelevant in terms of the broader smartwatch market.</p>

It is brutal. May come down - as these markets seem to - to just two principal players, one of them being Apple.
Apple  fitbit  smart  watch 
december 2016 by charlesarthur
Life after Fitbit: guilt or relief? • Futurity
Jennifer Langston-Washington:
<p>Most people [who had abandoned Fitbit use] preferred social comparisons that made them look better than their peers, such as “you walked more than 70% of people,” over those that were framed negatively, such as “30% of people walked more than you”—even if the comparisons represented the same information.

The team also found that people who felt guilty about abandoning their Fitbit use were very receptive to recommendations that they return to tracking, while people who felt they had gotten what they had wanted out of self-tracking felt those same suggestions were judgmental and unhelpful.

The responses show that a one-size-fits-all design approach misses opportunities to support different types of users.

“Right now self-tracking apps tend to assume everyone will track forever, and that’s clearly not the case,” says coauthor James Fogarty, associate professor of computer science and engineering. “Given that some people feel relief when they give it up, there may be better ways to help them get better value out of the data after they’re done, or reconnect them to the app for weeklong check-ins or periodic tune-ups that don’t presume they’ll be doing this every day for the rest of their lives.”</p>


See <a href="http://www.washington.edu/news/2016/09/08/life-after-fitbit-appealing-to-those-who-feel-guilty-vs-free/">the full report</a>.
fitbit  quantifiedself  tracking 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Fitbit buys Coin to help with mobile payments • Engadget
Daniel Cooper:
<p>Fitbit is purchasing (almost all of) Coin, the payments startup that developed <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/14/coin-credit-card/">a universal credit card replacement</a>. The world's biggest maker of wearable technology can now leverage Coin's know-how and integrate NFC-based commerce to its hardware. Fitbit has already said that there are "no plans" to integrate Coin's setup into the products it'll launch in 2016, so you can be damn sure it'll be there for 2017. It's not going to be a big leap for either party, as Coin was working on <a href="http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/06/mastercard-and-coin-wearable-payments/">some form of payments watch</a> earlier this year. At the time, it had signed up Atlas Wearables, Omate and Moov, as well as MasterCard to handle the processing.

The deal specifically excludes the Coin 2.0 hardware, the "universal card" that integrated every credit card you owned into one, wallet-friendly gizmo. If you own one of the units, your hardware will last for the duration of the built-in battery, which is expected to be two years. After that, however, you're SOL. In addition, Coin Rewards and the Coin Developer Program are being retired following the announcement.</p>


Inching upwards to more functionality. Where it will meet Android Wear and Apple Watch.
fitbit  mobile 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
This dude's fitness tracker may have just saved his life » Gizmodo
George Dvorsky:
<p>A 42-year-old man from New Jersey recently showed up in an emergency ward following a seizure. After looking at the data collected by his Fitbit Charge HR, the doctors decided to reset his heart rate with an electrical cardioversion. It’s the first time in history that a fitness tracker was used in this way.</p>


Won't be the last, though. Full text in the <a href="http://www.annemergmed.com/article/S0196-0644(16)00143-8/fulltext">Annals of Emergency Medicine</a>.
fitbit  heart 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Fitbit either doesn't understand Apple Watch or hopes you won't; neither is good » Forbes
Mark Rogowsky:
<p>In announcing its own smartwatch, Fitbit directly acknowledged that Apple is competition but it appears to have shown up to a Swiss Army knife fight with a spork . Fitbit CEO James Park seems to think his simpler device — which is limited to fitness tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and a few other functions — is just what the market ordered. Park told the Financial Times: “People have struggled with what the killer app is for smartwatches. For us it’s health and fitness. It’s really cumbersome on the Apple Watch sometimes to see what is my daily activity because they are trying to do so many things.”

In two sentences, Park makes three pretty fundamental errors about the state of wearables today and how they are likely to progress. Let’s break them down one at a time.</p>


Rogowsky skewers Fitbit (or its PR spin) thoroughly here; the stock market seems to have seen through it too, driving down Fitbit's shares by 20% on seeing its clunky product.

Meanwhile, my estimates for Android Wear activations (based on Google Play data) suggests they crept past 3m just before Christmas, and now stand at 3.1 million. There wasn't a big bump in activations over the holidays; I calculate they're rising steadily at about 47,000 per week, or 0.5m per quarter.

That, in turn, would suggest - unless something changes - that Android Wear won't pass the 5m downloads point on Google Play before September this year.
fitbit  applewatch  androidwear 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Apple debuts at the number two spot as the worldwide wearables market triples in 2Q15 » IDC
In its first appearance in the wearables market, Apple finds itself within striking distance of the established market leader, Fitbit. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker, Apple shipped a total of 3.6 million units in the second quarter of 2015 (2Q15), just 0.8m units behind Fitbit's 4.4m units. Total shipment volume for the quarter came to 18.1m units, up 223.2% from the 5.6m units shipped in 2Q14.

"Anytime Apple enters a new market, not only does it draw attention to itself, but to the market as a whole," noted Ramon Llamas, Research Manager for IDC's Wearables team. "Its participation benefits multiple players and platforms within the wearables ecosystem, and ultimately drives total volumes higher. Apple also forces other vendors – especially those that have been part of this market for multiple quarters – to re-evaluate their products and experiences. Fairly or not, Apple will become the stick against which other wearables are measured, and competing vendors need to stay current or ahead of Apple. Now that Apple is officially a part of the wearables market, everyone will be watching to see what other wearable devices it decides to launch, such as smart glasses or hearables."


This rather mixes oranges and.. um, because the Fitbit is not a "watch". I'd prefer to see "watches" and "bands" separated, but that might be tricky. Telling that none of the Android Wear watches did more than 0.6m; and that Samsung's early lead hasn't translated into, well, anything.

Also: "hearables"?
apple  fitbit  wearables 
august 2015 by charlesarthur
Fitbit’s dilemma: what problems will it solve better than other devices? » Mobile Forward
Hristo Daniel Ushev on the company that's presently valued at $9bn (that's the net present value of the stock market's guess of its total future profits):
Smartwatches – at least the Android ones – will eventually rival the price of Fitbit’s high-end products. Fitbit will need to either make smarter products or lower-priced products. It doesn’t appear to have the basis for the former, and it likely won’t have the cost structure for the latter (compared to low-cost rivals). It might just maintain an existence in the US, where its installed base and brand are strong (today). I don’t doubt there will always be some consumers who prefer the Fitbit’s design, user interface, analytics, subscription services, or power efficiency.

But, at least in terms of the performance level visible today, Fitbit’s proficiency in those areas doesn’t appear to be unique enough to constitute a protect-able advantage.
fitbit  wearable 
july 2015 by charlesarthur
One big reason Jawbone took debt » Fortune
In fact, $300m of debt, rather than venture capital, as Bloomberg discovered. Dan Primack explains:
For BlackRock, this is obviously an effort at risk mitigation. For Jawbone and its existing shareholders, it’s a bit more complicated.

Yes, Jawbone clearly needs BlackRock’s money. But structuring this deal as debt instead of as equity also allows the San Francisco-based company to maintain a $3bn valuation it reportedly received last fall. That means it needn’t reprice existing employee stock options, and gives it upside flexibility when recruiting new employees. Plus, Jawbone doesn’t take the kind of ‘falling unicorn’ PR hit that could cause potential customers to purchase from more stable vendors.


My spidey sense feels that Jawbone is stuffed, though - especially when you compare it to the hugely profitable Fitbit.
jawbone  fitbit 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Fitbit IPO rides on persuading you to dust off your wristband » Bloomberg Business
Caroline Chen:
Some Fitbit users have found they can use smartphone apps to count steps instead of having to wear a wristband. For others, the novelty just wore out. Catherine Toth Fox bought her Fitbit Charge, which sells for $129.95, in January and was done with it after a month.
“I stopped using it when I figured out how much activity it took me to hit 10,000 steps,” the Honolulu freelance writer, 40, said in an e-mail. “I realized very quickly that I was already reaching that goal just by my normal daily activities, so there was no need to have a device to tell me that anymore.” She gave the Fitbit to her mother, who uses it daily. Her husband, on the other hand, has never taken his out of the box.
Keeping users engaged will matter even more as Fitbit increases its offerings to employers. The device maker’s corporate wellness program lets companies buy Fitbits for their workers and monitor their health via a dashboard. For companies that are self-insured, encouraging employees to exercise more can help reduce the firm’s health bill.


That "I figured out how much was enough" point is an important one: it sets a ceiling even on active users.
fitbit  steps 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Thoughts on the Fitbit IPO filing » Beyond Devices
Jan Dawson digs into the numbers; he finds that the best model for usage is that on average, a Fitbit is used for about six months:
So, how important is this abandon rate information to our evaluation of Fitbit’s prospects going forward? Well, one could argue that at just 10 million sales per year, there’s tons of headroom, especially as Fitbit expands beyond the US (the source of around 75% of its revenues today). But in most consumer electronics categories, there’s a replacement rate for devices, which continues to drive sales over time even as penetration reaches saturation. The biggest worry in the data presented above is twofold: one, very few Fitbit buyers have yet bought a second device; and two, many don’t even use the first one they bought anymore. Once Fitbit maxes out its addressable market, it’s going to have a really tough time continuing to grow sales.


This may be a factor for all wearables, unless they can show some compelling reason to upgrade from the previous one.
fitbit  wearable 
may 2015 by charlesarthur
Fitbit advises rash sufferers to take a break from wearable » Re/code
Lauren Goode:
“We continue to be aware of a very limited percentage of users reporting skin irritation among our users,” a Fitbit spokeswoman said in a statement to Re/code, adding that the skin reactions are not uncommon with jewelry or other wearable devices that are pressed against the skin for long periods of time.

“According to our consulting dermatologists, they are likely from wearing the band too tight; sweat, water, or soap being held against the skin under the device; or from pressure or friction against the skin.” The irritation “should resolve quickly when users take a break from the device, usually within hours or days.”


A fitness tracker that you can't wear the track your fitness? Seems like a problem.
fitbit  wearables 
february 2015 by charlesarthur

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