Fitbit took a bold step at CES last month when it unveiled the Blaze, a $329.95 fitness-forward smartwatch that seemed designed to compete with Apple Watch. But Wall Street wasn’t a fan of the announcement, and Fitbit’s stock plunged. Though the Blaze hasn’t even been released yet, Fitbit is back with an activity tracker more in line with the rest of its fitness bands.
The $199.95 Fitbit Alta is slimmer than many of the Fitbits you may have used in the past, like the Surge and Charge HR, and is more stylish than the similarly trim Fitbit Flex. The Alta has all the basic activity-tracking features that other Fitbit bands do, but also adds Apple Watch-like reminders to move – though the Alta urges you to walk around instead of just stand, so you’ll reach a goal of 250 steps per hour. Like the Blaze, the Alta automatically recognises exercises such as walking, running, dancing and soccer, so you don’t have to launch the Fitbit app to record a workout.
Fitbit has called the Alta and Blaze its most fashionable fitness trackers, and the company is going to sell a variety of interchangeable bands in different materials and colours so you can switch up your look. You’ll be able to snag a classic band in black, plum, blue and teal for $49.95, a leather band in grey or pink for $99.95, and a stainless steel band for $169.95. Fitbit will soon partner with designer Tory Burch to create even more stylish band options.
Why this matters: Fitbit is trying to make activity trackers more versatile and less utilitarian, because people are more likely to buy fitness bands that can be worn during a workout and out on the town. The company already makes the most popular activity trackers, but smartwatches that also track fitness are nipping at the heels of traditional workout bands, according to a new survey from the NPD Group. Fitbit needs to continue to innovate to stay ahead of the game.
The Alta is currently available to preorder online and will ship next month.