Fitbit targets smartwatch mass market with new Versa device

Fitbit Versa brings female health tracking and a much-improved design

Now the company is back with a new smartwatch with a "more approachable" price tag and a brand new activity tracker for kids.

It got a 1.34-inch Touchscreen Color LCD display.

The watch is waterproof up to 50m so you can take it swimming. Fitbit's designed the Versa to be comfortable for any wearer, irrespective of wrist size.

Fitbit claims there are now 500 apps and watch faces on the Fitbit OS app store, with 5000 developers on board. You can also transfer your own music to the Versa much like the Ionic. There's no GPS on the watch, so if you want to track your location you'll need to use the Connected GPS feature and go running with your phone. Female health tracking will be available on-device for Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic™ users, and to Fitbit® app users starting in Spring 2018. Youll get at-a-glance info of your weekly health and fitness stats.

The biggest addition to Fitbit's software is the introduction is "female health tracking", allowing you to track your menstrual cycle, and see how it connects to your overall health.

As the company notes in the accompanying press material, "According to a recent Fitbit survey, 80-percent of women did not know how many phases are in a menstrual cycle and more than 70% were unable to correctly identify the average length of a cycle, demonstrating a lack of awareness about women's health". Interestingly the feature is available on a more expensive Fitbit Versa special edition and overseas version of the device. The Versa looks more like something Pebble would have produced, drawing on many design features from the Pebble Time, in particular. The most obvious of these is Global Positioning System, which isn't included on the Versa.

Why the discrepancy? Melanie Chase, Fitbit's VP of marketing, told us the reason is that adoption for NFC payments has been slow in the States.

The fitness features built into smartwatches are one reason why these devices are so popular. And although there's a sea of apps out there that can help you track your period, Fitbit is rolling out a new Versa smartwatch ($199) in May that includes "female health tracking", along with the traditional exercise tracking. "From its handsome design to its personalized guidance, Versa will help empower you to take action, make the most of every moment, and reach your goals".

The Fitbit Versa price is set at $200, which is more affordable than rivals from Apple and Samsung, and pre-orders are open right now on the company's official website. It's worth noting that these will become available across all Fitbit devices, but with a custom experience for Versa and Ionic owners. Fitbit will be selling a wide selection of different accessory styles, priced from $29.95.

Fitbit will soon be introducing "Quick Replies", which let you send quick pre-populated or customisable replies to text messages and instant messenger apps (Android only).

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