Today, Fitbit announced the Versa 2, its latest smartwatch. The new wearable includes quite a few new features, such as Amazon Alexa, Spotify, a swimproof design, Fitbit Pay, and more.
"At Fitbit, we believe that health belongs to everyone and that people should not be priced out of having access to devices and features that can help them improve their health. That’s why we’ve designed Versa 2 to be a premium, full-featured and easy-to-use smartwatch at an accessible price point," said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. "Building on the success of our original best-selling Versa smartwatch, we believe the added value and innovation in Versa 2 with new features like Alexa, a Spotify app and advanced in-app and on-device sleep features, will bring more users into the smartwatch category, allowing them to unlock the benefits of better health."
The Fitbit Versa 2 promises to be the first Fitbit device with Alexa built into it, using a built-in microphone. You can tell Alexa to start an exercise, find the nearest gym, or find out how many calories are in an avocado (Fitbit says it's 322). You'll have to press a button to access Alexa, so it's not automatic like Siri is on an Apple Watch, but responses will be silent, text-based notifications.
Fitbit Pay is an interesting addition, allowing you to make NFC payments without using your phone. The company says it will work with "New York MTA OMNY, TransLink in Vancouver, Transport for London (TfL) and Taiwan iPASS", along with many other retailers that accept NFC payments.
Spotify is a major addition as well, letting you control music playback from the Versa 2. The press release doesn't actually say anything about storing music on the device itself, so it seems that you can only control Spotify running on your phone.
Fitbit also noted a bunch of new sleep-tracking features, such as Sleep Score, which is based on your heart rate, restlessness, time awake, and sleep stages. Smart wake is actually coming to all Fitbit smartwatches, and it will use machine learning to wake you at an optimal time. There's Sleep Mode, which shuts off the screen while you're sleeping, and coming soon, there will be an Estimated Oxygen Variation Graph.
But if you want better sleep tracking, you'll want to sign up for Fitbit Premium, a new service that the firm also announced today. For $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year, Fitbit Premium will give you additional insights on all of your activity data.
"At Fitbit, we’re focused on making health accessible and more achievable. With Fitbit Premium, we’re excited to deliver our most personalized experience yet. It will evolve with you and get smarter over time, delivering the support and guidance you need to help you achieve your health goals," said Park. "The launch of Premium also marks an important milestone as we expand our business beyond devices and deliver new and innovative ways to engage our more than 27 million active users, while also attracting new users to the Fitbit platform."
The service will give you additional insights for a healthier life. Similar to how Huawei's wearables work, you'll get tips for getting a better night of sleep. There are 15 and 45-minute audio relaxation tools, which will help you to fall asleep as well, and it will also give correlated insights between your activities and sleep. The example Fitbit provided was, "When you walk more than your average 8,502 steps, you get 7 more minutes of deep sleep, helping you feel more rested. Keep stepping to improve your chances of better sleep tonight."
The sleep-tracking portion of Fitbit Premium is interesting, because while sleep-tracking has been around for a long time in various fitness trackers, it hasn't been entirely useful. Being able to see how much you slept doesn't really do anything, but these insights could prove to be useful.
And of course, there are activities insights. There will be thousands of video and audio workouts to choose from in the Fitbit Coach app, and the selection will be personalized to the user, based on the goals that they pre-set, as well as feedback.
And finally, Fitbit announced the Aria Air, a new smart scale. Just as you'd expect, it connects with the Fitbit app to track your BMI.
The Versa 2 is available for pre-order today at $199.95 in black with a carbon case, petal with a copper rose aluminum case, and stone with a mist grey case. There's also a Special Edition for $229.95 in navy and pink with a copper rose aluminum case and smoke with a mist grey case. All models will be available on September 15 from Amazon, Best Buy, Kohl's, Macy's, Target, Verizon, and Walmart.
The Aria Air is available for pre-order now from Fitbit.com for $49.95, and will ship in late September. It will be available from retailers worldwide such as Amazon, Best Buy, Kohl's, and Target, beginning in mid-October.