FitBit has officially announced their newest wearables to hit the market. The Charge (for sale now at FitBit’s website), Charge HR, and Surge models add incremental feature sets to improve upon their predecessors. According to TechTimes the Charge adds a small OLED screen which shows time, stats, and call/text notifications from your phone. The Charge HR adds a heart rate monitor, as suggested by the ‘HR’, and the Surge adds a larger screen, a GPS, and additional features for smartphone connectivity.
The Charge is a replacement for FitBit’s Force wristband, which was recalled in 2014 due to users experiencing rashes while wearing the band. This Wall Street Journal blog shows some photos on the Charge, which looks very similar to the old Force. FitBit is of course, claiming that the issues with rashes should no longer be a problem with this new charger. The other new chargers by FitBit are set to be released in early 2015, according to the website. They will be in competition with other fitness wristbands as well as the ever-growing list of smartwatches being released on a regular basis. Microsoft has now officially announced their Microsoft Band, which is a smartwatch with a fitness tracker. The Inquirer compares the Charge HR and Band in this article.
With the introduction of new smartwatches from all of the major tech companies, we see a divide in what used to be strong relationships between some of the companies. TechCrunch writes that Apple’s “HealthKit” app won’t support FitBit because of the Apple Watch. I suppose that all is fair in this tech-war for the best wearable device. It will be interesting to see which device has the largest market share a year from now, once all of the newest models have had a chance to make an impact on the wearable market. If I had to guess, I would assume that FitBit’s user base will remain loyal, and they will hold a large chunk of the smart watch and fitness band market in the coming months.