CES: Fitbit announces Apple Watch competitor

LAS VEGAS — Fitbit has set its sights on the smartwatch market.

On Tuesday, at its press conference before the annual CES convention here, the fitness band maker announced the Fitbit Blaze, a $200 smartwatch set to take on the likes of Apple Watch and other connected timepieces. Like Apple Watch, Fitbit Blaze has a heartbeat monitor, allows users to choose among several different virtual watch faces and offers a collection of swappable bands.

Owners will also be able to use the device to see their calendar, get notifications and control the music player on their phones.

Unlike Apple Watch, the Blaze will work with Android and Windows phones as well as Apple’s iPhones. But it does not appear to support the range of apps that can run on Apple Watch and Android Watch devices.

“Each feature was determined with intention and purpose,” Edward Scal, Fitbit’s chief revenue officer, said at the press conference. “It’s about the essentials and what you really need.”

Fitbit is trying to make the device stand out from other smartwatches by focusing on fitness features. For example, the Blaze will automatically track workouts, even if users forget to start it. It will connect with a phone’s GPS antenna to track where users run or bike. And it can direct users’ exercise routines with customized workouts.

The device will be available in March, but pre-orders start Tuesday on Fitbit.com. Bands range from $30 for the colorful plastic water-resistant ones to $100 for leather ones to $130 for a stainless steel band and frame.

Photo: The Fitbit Blaze, on display after Fitbit’s press conference on Tuesday.


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