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Fitbit's All-new Designed Smartwatch

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Krales  The Verge

The Fitbit Ionic combines features that most smartwatches now offer with Fitbit-specific stuff like a personal trainer (dubbed Fitbit Coach), running companion, and a swim exercise mode (this takes advantage of the fact that the device is water-resistant up to 50 meters).

If you're a Fitbit Ionic smartwatch owner, or soon will be as the device is only in pre-order right now, making a contactless payment the way that some smartphones and smartwatches can already do is a feature that's soon coming to you.

Like all Fitbit products, the Ionic puts health and fitness first. New sensor technology is also featured called the "SpO2" sensor that estimates oxygen levels in the blood. What exactly this entails is not clear, but presumably it will come with a special edition design and include training programs. The watch will also play nice, of course, with Fitbit's new headphones.

In addition to the watch, Fitbit is rolling out an upgraded smart scale, the Aria 2, and US$129.95 bluetooth headphones that pair with the smartwatch. Fitbit Pay will work with American Express cards and select Visa and Mastercards in the U.S. and Canada from supported banks. If you are using Windows 10 Mobile, you will have the same functionality as on iOS and Android.

Several Wall Street analysts voiced optimism on Monday that the Ionic could help reverse Fitbit's fortunes.

Fitbit is promising a battery life that goes beyond four days, which is very competitive if that translates to the real world. It's also the cheapest of this bunch at $189, though you can get it for less than $150 if you look. The Ionic shows notifications for calls, texts, calendar events, and the alerts from Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, and others. The company will release a web-based SDK (software development kit) in mid-September and the SDK will allow any developers to create apps or to create their own watch faces using Javascript and SVG. The watch is slated for release in October, at which point it will be available on Amazon and other retail outlets. The latter is a tougher sell unless you're specifically thinking of times you wouldn't want to carry your phone around - a scenario Apple understandably would prefer customers not think too much about.

The smartwatch will cost buyers $299, and arrives October 2017. Plus, the Fitbit Flyer wireless headphones "expands Fitbit into a high-growth adjacent market". The quick charge feature grants an additional hour of playtime with just a 15-minute charge. It also has access to Fitbit's app store, which we think has a lot to catch up with other app stores like Android Wear and Tizen.

We all know Siri is pretty useless. "I am most impressed with the ability to use the Ionic in a range of fitness settings", explains Rebecca Warren, Women's Running editor-in-chief, who attended the product launch event.

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