Fitbit ‘Ionic’ smartwatch launched with long battery life and promise of third-party apps

Fitbit has launched its ‘Ionic’ smartwatch to take on Apple Watch Series 2 and Samsung Gear S3. The Ionic smartwatch, which is priced at $299 (or approx Rs 19,709), will be available in October in silver, grey, and orange.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 29, 2017 9:11 am
Fitbit Ionic, Ionic, Fitbit, Fitbit Ionic smartwatch, Fitbit Ionic battery life Fitbit Ionic is the company’s first proper smartwatch with support for third-party apps. (Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit has launched its ‘Ionic’ smartwatch to take on Apple Watch Series 2 and Samsung Gear S3. The Ionic smartwatch, which is priced at $299 (or approx Rs 19,709), will be available in October in silver, grey, and orange.  The wearable is the company’s first device designed fully in-house.

Fitbit Ionic is different from the company’s previous smartwatch – the Blaze. The company says its latest smartwatch runs on a custom OS and has got the ability to support watch faces. Fitbit Ionic will also be supporting third-party apps as well, starting with Starbucks, Accuweather, Pandora, and cycling app Strava. More apps such as Adidas All Day, Flipboard, Game Golf, Nest and Surfline are slated to be released for Ionic later this year. The Fitbit app software development kit (SDK) will be open to developers in September 2017, the company said.

The Ionic doubles as an advanced fitness tracker, as it features as built-in GPS system for outdoor fitness tracking, an all-day heart rate sensor, sleep and activity tracking , a heart rate monitor, and water resistance up to 50 meters for swim tracking. Moreover, the smartwatch has the new SpO2 sensor for measuring blood oxygen levels and could be used to discover sleep apnea in the future.

Ionic’s battery will last up to four days on a single charge – one of the biggest selling points to own the Fitbit-made smartwatch. Like the Apple Watch, Fitbit Ionic comes with support for contactless payment. Fitbit Pay will work with American Express cards and select Visa and Mastercards in the US and Canada from supported banks.

The smartwatch will act as a notifier, allowing users to receive calls, text and other alerts from apps on your smartphone via Bluetooth. The device has 2.5GB of native storage for storing over 300 songs and can also connected to Pandora without the use of a companion phone. The Ionic features a 1.42-inch , 348 x 250  colour screen; the watch’s casing is made of aluminum. The unibody watchcase allows it to double as the Bluetooth and GPS antenna.

Fitbit says it is partnering with Adidas on a “special edition” version of the Ionic that’s expected to release next year. If you recall, Apple last year partnered with Nike with the Apple Watch Nike+ version of the wearable.

Of late, Fitbit has been struggling to position itself as a strong contender in the wearable segment.  According to IDC, Fitbit dropped to third place when it comes to wearable shipments in the first quarter of 2017, behind Xiaomi and Apple.

Moving forward, it will be an uphill battle for Fitbit, which is already late to the smartwatch market. Next month, Apple plans to launch the third-generation Apple Watch with LTE connectivity. The smartwatch is expected to be showcased for the first time at the company’s much-hyped iPhone 8 event on September 12. Similarly, Samsung has also hinted at the launch of the next-generation Gear S smartwatch next month. The South Korean company is likely to launch the high-end wearable at the IFA 2017 in Berlin next week.

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