Investors have signalled that there might not be room in the market for proprietary smartwatches with news that Fitbit shares plunged nearly 20% following the launch of the fitness tracker’s first smart watch.
The Fitbit Blaze was launched yesterday at CES (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas. Up until now the company has specialised in largely passive activity tracking bands and software with the new Blaze representing the company’s most fully featured product to date.
Whilst Fitbit is clearly competing on price – the Blaze is available to preorder in the US for $199.99 (£136) – the new smart watch is very much focused on fitness and activity tracking rather than the all-encompassing software offered in smart watches from the likes of Apple and Google’s Android.
Cautious investors offloaded Fitbit shares throughout the day resulting in a one-day drop of 19.66%, clearly worried about the company’s decision explore the smart watch market despite its phenomenal success in recent years with fitness trackers.
The Blaze features a detachable smart watch head that clips into a frame mounted onto a strap allowing for a variety of options – including rubber and leather straps and a stainless steel bracelet to be quickly changed.
While Apple is keeping its Watch OS2 operating system to itself for the Apple Watch Google has made its Android Wear system available to manufacturers, making it one of the most popular platforms for smart watch.
Recent Android Wear-based smart watches include the Huawei Watch, models within Fossil’s new Q range and TAG Heuer’s Connected. Proprietary operating systems are used by others including Pebble and most recently Samsung, which ditched Android Wear in favour of its own Tizen OS last year as part of a move to integrate product functionality across the brand.