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article imageFitbit launches the Versa, a $200 smartwatch for the masses

By James Walker     Mar 13, 2018 in Technology
Fitbit has announced its long-rumoured Versa smartwatch, designed as an alternative to products like the Apple Watch. Unlike Fitbit's Ionic smartwatch, the Versa is lower-priced and aimed at a wider market. It retains most of the Ionic's features.
Announced by Fitbit today, the Versa is described as an "intuitive" smartwatch for communication and health and fitness. Although Fitbit made its name by manufacturing fitness trackers, the company has been pushing towards smartwatches in an attempt to grow its appeal and gain market share.
Coming after the Blaze and Ionic, the Versa is the first Fitbit device with a true smartwatch design and an entry-level price tag. It's built from an aluminium case with a square colour touchscreen display. The rounded corners make it visually similar to an Apple Watch. Fitbit's designed the Versa to be comfortable for any wearer, irrespective of wrist size.
The Versa provides access to Fitbit's growing library of apps. You can store up to 90 apps on the device, which should be a sufficient capacity for most users. There's also a library of over 330 watch faces and support for on-device music streaming. The Versa will hold up to 300 songs in its internal memory, so you don’t need to take your phone with you when you leave the house.
As with any Fitbit product, the Versa also includes a robust array of fitness options. There's a heartrate sensor, guided exercise routines and a bevy of health and fitness stats. Fitbit's also preparing to add support for female health tracking, which will be available on Versa and Ionic devices from May.
Fitbit Versa
Fitbit Versa
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Fitbit's targeting the Versa at general consumers who want a do-anything all-purpose smartwatch. At $200, it's less pricy than many market rivals, including the Apple Watch and leading Android Wear devices. However, the price cut from the $300 Ionic has led to the loss of some of Fitbit's more fitness-oriented features. The most obvious of these is GPS, which isn't included on the Versa.
The changes reflect Fitbit's need to attract more consumers who may not already actively exercise. A key aim of the Versa is to "empower" people to understand their health and take action on it. The smartwatch form factor could be more successful here, as people may be more inclined to purchase a smartphone companion than a device marketed as a dedicated fitness option.
"What’s smart, balanced, versatile, and gets stuff done? You wearing Fitbit Versa, Fitbit’s intuitive new smartwatch that’s packed with health and fitness features," said Fitbit. "From its beautiful design to its personalized guidance, Versa will help empower you to take action, make the most of every moment, and reach your goals."
The Versa is available to preorder at Fitbit's store and select online retailers from today. It's priced at $199.95 and is available in black, gray or peach. Fitbit will be selling a wide selection of different accessory styles, priced from $29.95. There's also the option of a $229.95 Versa "Special Edition" in the U.S. which includes NFC and supports Fitbit Pay.
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