Details about the new Fitbit Surge activity tracker were recently leaked by the people over at The Verge. It looks like the latest version of the Fitbit will be hopping aboard the smart watch craze.
The nice thing about previous iterations of Fitbit wearables is that they were cheap. They were priced at less than $100 and because they didn’t have screens, they worked with a smartphone to help keep the price down. Everyone has a phone with them nowadays, so it wasn’t really necessary for Fitbit fitness trackers to have screens. You could just pull out your phone to check your stats throughout the day. Plus the Fitbit Flex and Force wearables were minimal enough that they could be passed off as an unassuming rubber bracelet, not unlike one of those Live Strong ones that everyone was wearing a decade ago.
The Fitbit Surge seems to be aimed at people who exercise more frequently than those who would likely buy the Fitbit Flex or Force. Along with a screen, the Surge has a built-in GPS for keeping tabs on your route while running or cycling and a heart rate monitor to see if you’re in the right range. Runners and cyclists will especially find this information useful, but the device will still monitor stairs climbed and calories burned when you’re not exercising like previous versions of Fitbit wearables. But all these new features will cost you. While previous versions were priced at $100 or less, the new Fitbit Surge will run you $250.
The silver lining to this is that there’s no need to carry around a smartphone with you. If you’re going for a run or a hike, you might not want to lug your phone with you to keep tabs on your progress. But let’s face it, a lot of people use their phones for listening to music, and the majority of people keep a phone with them at all times in case they need to be contacted. I can’t imagine that many people will be ditching their phones while they exercise in favor of keeping the Fitbit Surge with them.
The other issue I see with the Fitbit is that there are so many new smart watches becoming available. The iWatch is in the pipeline and there are already multiple smart watches available for the Android platform. If these watches become as popular as Apple, LG, Sony, and Samsung hope they will, people likely won’t wear a Fitbit Surge on one wrist and a smart watch on the other. I feel that if someone wants a smart watch, they’ll choose that over an activity tracker, perhaps opting for a Fitbit Flex or Force rather than the bloated Fitbit Surge. Sure, Fitbit promises that the Surge will be able to receive notifications from your phone about calls and texts, and it will be able to control your music, but it won’t completely eliminate the need for a smart watch for the people who want a smart watch.
It will be interesting to see if reviews cover some of these “issues” that I can see with the device, but we’ll have to wait a few weeks and see once the device becomes available. The Fitbit Surge should be out by the end of November, priced at around $250 as I mentioned, and available in a trio of colors: black, gray, and orange.