New Fitbit smartwatch pictures reveal heart rate shake-up

Exclusive: New images show off watch from different angles
New Fitbit smartwatch pics emerge

Fitbit has been openly talking about its smartwatch for several months, but it's yet to reveal the product itself. Now, Wareable has obtained images of the smartwatch, giving us a no-holds-barred look at Fitbit's next big device.

Wareable understands from a source close to the inner workings of Fitbit that we're looking at the finalised version of the smartwatch-cum-fitness tracker, which is set to launch later this year.

Read next: Fitbit's smartwatch – the story so far…

There are three base colour variants of the watch: silver case with navy strap, rose gold case with blue strap, and a darker case with a black strap. The pictures reveal it will also have the same button configuration as the Fitbit Blaze – two on the right side, one on the left – and like on the Blaze the back of the watch protrudes, presumably to get a better lock on that optical heart rate sensor.

Fitbit smartwatch

More interesting though is the sensor itself. Fitbit has, like many other wearable companies, traditionally used green optical sensors for tracking heart rate, but these new images reveal two red lights. If it's also using infra-red, which that bottom blue optical could be, it suggests Fitbit's smartwatch may have a pulse oximeter for measuring oxygen levels in the blood. It could also use red light technology to get a more accurate read on heart rate, heart rate variability, or other physiological parameters that green PPGs struggle with.

Expectations are that Fitbit will offer most, if not all of the fitness features from the Charge 2. How the smartwatch aspect works remains to be seen, but this is going directly up against the Apple Watch, so a lot is resting on Fitbit delivering with its apps – something it was rumoured to be struggling with.

It will also face stiff competition from Garmin which, as we exclusively revealed this week, will soon launch the Vivoactive 3, a fitness smartwatch positioned similarly to Fitbit's offering.

Fitbit smartwatch

In last week's earnings call, CEO James Park assured investors that the 'app gallery' will launch on the smartwatch, with offerings from a few select partners. It will be making the SDK widely available after launch, so we can expect the number to grow.

The watch will also include GPS and will be waterproof to 50m. Fitbit can't afford to hold back on the fitness aspect here if it wants to bring the heat to Apple and others. We just need a name – all we know is that it's called Project Higgs internally.

Regarding this story, Fitbit told Wareable in a statement: "We know there is a lot of interest in our entry into the smartwatch category. We don't have news to share at this time and do not comment on rumours or speculation. We can confirm that development of our smartwatch is on track and that it will be available for the holiday season."

Fitbit has called 2017 its "transition year", which we've analysed a little more here. It's betting big that its smartwatch will give the company the shot in the arm it needs, carrying it into a profitable 2018 when the Charge 3 and Blaze 2 are rumoured to show up too.

Here's a closer look at Fitbit's upcoming smartwatch


8 Comments

  • datalore says:

    If fitbit can shake up the health metrics game and deliver a few key apps on this watch they can own the middle tier. I think there is room for a health tracker that has watch like features and tracks health really well; the key will be execution and making these devices must have health trackers.They should carve out their territory and execute and they could survive and thrive as a company. 

    • ejdoura says:

      I agree. I own the Apple Watch and always gravitate back to my Fitbit Charge 2. Fitbit executes the activity tracker features so much better and the app is perfect.

      • datalore says:

        If this watch is as advertised would you upgrade to it? I'm just curious. I think fitbit should go after a different market than apple and just make top of the line fitness/health trackers with good battery life and include some smartwatch functionality. I think with good research and design they can make fitbits a must have item, but that's easier said than done. 

  • Nopemeansnope says:

    Garmin's new Vivoactive 3 looks better

    • datalore says:

      I think the real breakthrough is the heart rate sensor. The use of redlight with the infrared will make for more accurate metrics, if they can produce that is. That new Vivoactive looks good, but if this fitbit provides more accurate metrics that's what I'm going with. It all comes down to taste I suppose. In any event I have to upgrade my charge 2 because I've started training for a long swim, so it will be either fitbit or garmin. The apple watch is nice, but the one day battery life and the lack of health metrics make it a non-starter for me. The android wear watches suffer the same lack of battery life in my experience. If this fitbit gets 4 days of battery life and lives up to the hype I'm in.  I do wish it was a bit more attractive. 

  • omi says:

    If fitbit adds a golf yardage app to this new device and markets to this sport at launch, investors will be extremely satisfied with their 4th quarter results. No other golf watch would be able to compete with the battery life this wearable has to offer at its price point and the features it will provide. 

  • Pw1 says:

    I WAS going to swap my huawei w1 Android wear for the fitbit watch for better HR & sleep monitoring BUT However accurate the heart rate sensor is the ugly square corners is a 100% no.  Round corners or the sales will be dramatically low compared to if u add rounded corners. 

    Bad design, pebble was way better looking. 

    • datalore says:

      I hear ya, it sure ain't cutting edge as far as design. 

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