According to the NDP group's Connected Intelligence Wearables Forecast, smartwatch ownership in the US will reach 9 percent of the country’s adult (ages 18+) population by 2016, while activity tracker ownership will peak at 32 million by the same time. “The smartwatch will clearly begin to take a bite out of the activity tracker market moving forward,” says Eddie Hold, vice president of The NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence practice area.
Simply put, having an active lifestyle is increasingly becoming a fashion statement, and the simplistic nature of fitness trackers cannot compete with the glamorous canvas a smartwatch provides. To reclaim part of their stake and stay relevant, Fitbit has now decided to launch the $130 Alta, a customizable tracker that lets you get creative with its look and design.
Slated to be launched in March-April this year, the Alta will be packed with the standard array of Fitbit abilities—activity tracking, sleep tracking, an alarm clock, a calorie counter, and smartphone notifications, minus the heart rate monitor—in the garb of a chic bracelet design.
You can choose from an array of clock faces, whether you want the display layout to be vertical or horizontal, and take your pick from metal, leather or the classic elastomer band alternates. The use of luxe materials and an extensive color palette—black, blush pink, plum, teal, blue—is what makes the customization noteworthy because, let's face it, many other fitness trackers offer interchangeable bands.
What these do is that they basically allow you to wear your tracker as a metal bracelet accessory for a night out on the town, or man up the look with a leather strap.
In terms of novel features, the Alta will automatically recognize your exercise program (cycling, jogging, swimming) and record your activity duration and burn. In addition, it will give you gentle reminders on the days that you've been lazy to get a move on, a feature that most fitness apps are known and revered for.
Is the Alta better than any other on the market? Well, it's better looking, if that matters to you. Can it compete with a shiny smartwatch? Not really. But then again, the average price of a smartwatch is $189, (according to independent research firm Smartwatch Group), so it's not a bad proposition, really.
Images Via Instagram/FitBit