Fitbit’s primed to finally break out of the fitness tracking vertical with a smartwatch built for mass appeal but the company’s apparently having a hard time even bringing a device to the starting line.
A Yahoo Finance report claims that Fitbit’s had so much difficulty developing the smartwatch that its launch was pushed from spring to later in the year, most likely the fall, according to “sources familiar with the matter.”
The report says the smartwatch will be made of aluminum with a built-in GPS chip, heart-rate monitoring, the capacity for touchless payments, Pandora music compatibility, and up to four days of battery life. The design is, according to one source, “definitely not sexy,” and takes its cues from the company’s attempt at a fitness smartwatch, the Blaze.
Fitbit’s reportedly having issues with the device’s GPS signal and waterproofing, which would be a major knock against the watch especially with the company’s rep for activity tracking when compared to other premium smartwatches on the market.
If Fitbit is really having problems with the smartwatch, it’s not from a lack of resources. The company acquired the software and firmware intellectual assets of Vector and Pebble, two smartwatch makers, in high-profile deals. Notably, the GPS and waterproofing problems both sound like they’re issues stemming from the smartwatch’s hardware which reportedly wasn’t part of the package in either of the acquisitions.
The delay could hurt Fitbit’s chance to make a big dent in the smartwatch market. Instead of taking advantage of the entire spring and summer to entice exercise junkies and more casual smartwatch fans to opt for new line, the company will instead be forced to release the device right around the time an Apple Watch Series 3 is expected to hit the market.
The report also mentioned a set of Fitbit-branded Bluetooth earbuds could be released alongside the watch, la Beats X.
When reached for comment, a Fitbit rep had little to share. We know there is a lot of interest in our entry into the smartwatch category,” they said via email. “We dont have news to share at this time and do not comment on rumors or speculation.