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Fitbit’s New Watch: This Time It’s Different

Fitbit announced its Ionic smartwatch on Monday.

The last time Fitbit had a watch to announce, things didn’t go so well. Shares plunged 18% when it introduced the Fitbit Blaze in January 2016.

So far, the encore has gone better.

Fitbit shares rose 3.7% on Monday after the company released information about its upcoming smartwatch, the Ionic. The device features a bright screen on which users can watch workout videos, as well as a host of health monitoring features that are more advanced than what you’d find on your average smartwatch. We were able to take a look at the device and liked what we saw, though we’ve yet to play around with its various features.

On Monday, Fitbit also announced Bluetooth earphones, a new Aria fitness tracker, and an upgraded version of its subscription fitness-coaching product.

Several Wall Street analysts voiced optimism on Monday that the Ionic could help reverse Fitbit’s fortunes. Oppenheimer’s Andrew Uerkwitz writes that some successful product launches here could convince investors to pay more for Fitbit’s stock “not only on a sign of better execution, but as a connected health company being more valuable than a fitness tracker hardware company.”

Meanwhile, CFRA’s Angelo Zino thinks the device can keep up in a crowded smartwatch field. The Ionic’s “four-day battery life and cross-platform compatibility remain key competitive advantages to the Apple Watch,” he writes.

Still, Fitbit has plenty of catching up to do. The Ionic is late to the game, and its $300 price tag makes it slightly more expensive than the cheapest available Apple Watch, which goes for $269. (Granted, that’s an older model.)

For now, though, investors seem simply relieved that Fitbit is fielding a serious contender.

Big Picture: Fitbit investors are feeling a bit more hopeful after seeing the company’s new smartwatch.


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