The former leader of the overall wearables market and still undefeated world champion of fitness trackers sure got off to a late start in the smartwatch category. Fitbit’s pre-production struggles with what ultimately saw daylight as the Ionic have been well-documented, but all that matters now is exactly how this bad boy intends to compete against wildly successful Apple Watches.
For one thing, the Fitbit Ionic is slightly more affordable than the entry-level, cellular connectivity-lacking Apple Watch Series 3, at $299.95 vs. $329 and up. It’s also not that far behind in its global commercial rollout, confirmed earlier today to begin October 1.
That’s only a few days away, and “retail partners across Asia Pacific, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America, and North America” should be ready with sufficient online and offline inventory to handle demand right off the bat.
Don’t forget about Fitbit’s own e-store, where three color combinations of the Fitbit OS-powered timepiece are up for pre-order, shipping “within a week” stateside.
In addition to the aforementioned 30 bucks savings, the Fitbit Ionic has a few other things going for it that the newest “iWatch” doesn’t. Most significantly, an “industry-leading” battery life of “up to” 5 days, though the US-based fitness specialists are making a lot of noise about their “advanced and innovative health features” as well, including “industry-leading GPS” and “enhanced heart rate tracking.”
Also, there’s an App “Gallery” on a Fitbit for the first time, with just a few launch titles (Pandora, Starbucks, Strava and Weather), Flipboard and Nest coming soon, and the software development kit (SDK) available tomorrow for anyone to create additional apps and clock faces.
Oh, and those largely forgettable Fitbit Flyer wireless headphones are themselves going on sale October 1 at “major global retailers”, costing $129.95 in the US.