Fitbit has had a great year. The company launched three devices in 2018: Fitbit Versa, Fitbit Ace and more recently, Fitbit Charge 3. While the first two are great smartwatch options, the latter is a redesigned fitness tracker that really shows how much Fitbit has grown. In Berlin, we met with Dennis Hsu, Director of Product Marketing at Fitbit to see not only why the Charge 3 is the perfect cross between a smartwatch and a fitness tracker but also to find out their fall plans.
I won’t bore you with the specs. As with all product launches, the spec sheet is the first to leak and scatter across the Internet. You probably know everything about the design, waterproof capabilities and goal-based feature by now (if not, check it here!) What you may not know or that hasn’t been as heavily advertised is the invisible button on the side.
Yep, Fitbit Charge 3 doesn’t have any mechanical buttons but an inductive one. It grabs your attention if you press on the side – even by mistake – “retaliating” thanks to haptic feedback technology. It’s also worth mentioning that the Charge 3 will keep you going for a week thanks to a bigger battery without needing to sacrifice app activity.
At one point, Dennis spilled the beans about Fitbit’s short-term plans. Namely, very soon they will release a more medical-focused feature that will come in handy to users who have difficulties sleeping. “Later in the fall, we will be beta-testing a new concept called SleepScore“, explained Dennis. “We will help people understand if they have breathing disturbances while they’re sleeping – could be allergies, asthma, or could be related to something like sleep apnea. We hope that the additional feature […] will prompt them to seek attention from a medical professional.”
We’re working with the FDA in building a medical-grade system for sleep apnea
That tidbit is extremely important in the context of wristbands that can do blood tests on the spot and forward the results in-app, for example. We have seen research labs and universities doing their best to make medicine more accessible through wearables but without companies like Fitbit to push such advancements to the market, actually benefiting from them could take a while.
That’s why I was happy to hear the company is making strides in that direction, Hsu also hinting at their work with the FDA. In the future, the Fitbit app will expand its insight analysis to other areas too, he added, in order to “give positive reinforcement when it’s working or some intervention, when it’s needed”.
What do you think: should wearable companies focus on fitness-related features or add more medical-focused ones?