Fitbit Blaze is a new “smart fitness watch”

The new Fitbit Blaze

It’s CES week – and that means a slew of new wearables, including a second “smart fitness watch” from wristband market leader Fitbit.

Fitbit is sensibly trying to expand its range beyond the smart wristband market, but in doing so, helps bring the two markets ever closer together, at least in pricing.

The new $199.95 Blaze doesn’t have enough features to qualify as a smartwatch, nor does it have the GPS, digital compass and three-axis gyroscope of the $50 more expensive Surge, which is a “fitness super watch”, by the way.

The new Fitbit Blaze

The new Fitbit Blaze (photo: PR)

However, it does have a color LCD touchscreen in place of the Surge’s monochrome version. Other than that, the specs are identical.

The octagonal face looks like an attempt to take attention away from the rather large border area around a small-ish color LCD screen.

It also looks like Fitbit is being careful not to see a repeat of the skin rashes which dogged its Force model a couple of years back, with the wristband “made of a flexible, durable elastomer material similar to that used in many sports watches”.

Again, it’s water resistant but “not swim proof”, like the Force and the more lowly Charge / Charge HR models.

Blaze is set to arrive in March.

According to one media report, the Blaze was “so poorly received” it was to blame for a 20% drop in Fitbit’s stock price.

The UK’s Independent went on to claim that the sub-smartwatch was new territory for Fitbit (wrong!) and quoted anonymous sources (maybe someone in the pub as they drafted the story?) as saying: “Analysts said that the company had done well in that niche, and that branching out into smartwatches could be risky.”

As previously noted, Fitbit’s stock has been on a rollercoaster ride since the IPO, but we don’t think that the Blaze is to blame. Nor is it the company’s first semi-smartwatch, that was the Surge.

/WTW

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