Welcome to the Fitbit Versa at $199.
It is designed to look somewhat similar to the Apple Watch. People obviously like the Apple Watch so maybe similar looks are not a bad thing.
Pricewise at $199, the Versa is $100 less than the Ionic and quite a bit cheaper than the Apple Watch
This price level seems to be a good call. Sub $200, and international equivalents, seems to be the entry-level price for many things purporting to be at least half-decent.
The new Fitbit OS from the Ionic seems to have been fully incorporated into the Versa with FitOS2.0. Sensible. That OS works well on a 3-button device, in my experience, and has a generally good user experience on-screen. Like all new OSs the issue comes with the breadth and depth of the functionality and apps.
So it’s pretty cool that you’ll get music.
However even just prior to Christmas 2017 that element of the functionality on the Ionic needed work. One plus side here, unlike AndroidWear: at least you can sideload your pre-owned music (ripped or ‘downloaded’ previously) but you probably won’t be able to link to the streaming service of your choice. Like many smartwatches only one streaming service is supported by the company; in Fitbit’s case that service is Pandora, with a Deezer app slated for the near future.
Fitbit also show some great images of their app store like this one (to right):
Which looks pretty cool. But if you expect an app store like Apple you will be disappointed.
Because 2017’s Ionic sales were lower than expected it’s going to take quite a surge in Versa sales and hence the user base to start tempting more app developers to do their funky stuff with new apps.
Similarly Fitbit Pay (on Sepcial Edition USA models, see below) is nice enough and I used it last year with Starling Bank (who?) to buy a Grande Latte from Starbucks with the Ionic. But just as with every other provider coverage of service with your chosen smartwatch and your chosen (current) bank is likely to be sparse or non-existent.
So I’m being a bit cynical; and I think rightly so. But there IS the basis of some great functionality coupled to aesthetics and a price tag that should appeal to more people than that for the Ionic.
But here’s some cool stuff.
From April 2018 half of you will be able to track your menstrual cycle. Specifically this might prove interesting to those wishing to track ovulation and prime fertility time. In terms of the accuracy…I don’t know. I do know there are apps that already claim to track ovulation and I do know that there are some rather clever temperature and HRV devices in the pipeline for this later on in the year.
Initial Verdict: Shows Promise.
Also announced today was the kids’ Fitbit Ace and Wareable also commented that Fitbit had nto ruled out a baby/toddler tracker of some sort. This might sound strange but think about the extra revenues from a whole-family tracker. Think also about their recent moves further into corporate trackers and into medical areas. Fitbit DO seem to have given considerable thought to attacking large target markets…which they eventially have to suceed in penetrating to similar levels as Apple.
That’s all folks. Here’s another pretty image: Versa versus Ionic.