This week, Fitbit has come out with their newest smartwatch, Ionic. In all honesty, it's one I would consider getting myself. The only smartwatch that I've used was a Pebble. I've been holding out a bit, not wanting to be locked into one ecosystem for my watch. Ionic may be where I dive back in.
There's a chance that Ionic may get released and may not be a great piece of hardware. All that said, quality aside, I think there are a few things Fitbit has done right.
First off, it built a community
I think the most fun thing about having a Fitbit when I first got a Flex several years ago for Christmas was the competitive aspect of it. Being able to take something as mundane as walking around during the workday and making a competition out of it was a lot of fun. It's one thing I missed when I switched over to using a Pebble for all fitness tracking - the community. It was way more fun using what was basically a glorified pedometer to compete against friends than simply counting my steps for myself.
Before it was a company that tried to built hardware, Fitbit was an active social network. It still is. For that reason alone, I believe they're more likely for people to give their new hardware products a shot than only relying on watch features alone.
They have always been laser focused on fitness
There have been a lot of smartwatches hit the market. Apple's watch is very feature heavy. Some Android watches have taken a stab at a more style-focused approach. They've all just not totally hit their stride IMO.
The one thing Fitbit has done is be laser focused on being a fitness-focused product. Sure, the Blaze and Ionic have some additional cool features. Both products, at their core, are fitness trackers. I think as long as Fitbit maintains their focus on fitness and being the best at that, they may not be the biggest company in the world but they'll continue to serve their core audience .
A few things that get me excited about the new Ionic smartwatch
Admittedly, the Ionic could hit the market and not be as cool as advertised. However, assuming everything works as planned, here are a few features I'm pumped about.
Built-in GPS: One thing I hate is carrying my phone when I run. If the built in GPS allows me to not to have to carry my phone with me and track runs with less baggage. That is, when I actually do get out and run.
Loading audio directly onto the watch: On many articles that I've read, this is billed to be a con of the watch. I think it's a pro. When I go for a run, there's usually only one playlist I listen to. If the watch can hold up to 300 songs, that's plenty of music to get me through at least a week of exercise.
Payments built-in: I realize that the Apple Watch has this feature. No matter which watch, the ability to go for a run, stop in a convenience store to buy a Gatorade or something - without carrying a wallet (or a phone) sounds remarkably convenient.
The Fitbit Flyer: Sure, these are headphones and not the actual watch but I think these pairing directly with the watch makes it way more functional. Anything that helps me not have to carry a phone while working out is a win for me.
What about you? Are you a Fitbit user? What smartwatches have you excited (if any) right now?