Fitbit stock took a nosedive on Tuesday after the company revealed big plans for the fashion-conscious consumer. The Fitbit Blaze is a new smartwatch that's "more motivating, smarter and more stylish than ever before." The watch, the company's first wearable with a color screen, has a unique hexagonal design and features interchangeable bands.
First impressions were not great. Twitter user Seth Ely described it as "ugly." Alex Fitzpatrick, Time Magazine's deputy tech editor, joked the product's name could be interpreted as a marijuana reference. "I want someone to try and explain why they chose that bezel shape," said software designer Tuhin Kumar. Following the announcement, Fitbit stock was down on the New York Stock Exchange over 9 percent to $26.92 at 11:45 EST.
It's a bold move from a company that's gone from strength to strength. Even after the stock dip following the announcement, Fitbit is trading higher than its June IPO price of $20. NPD figures show the Fitbit Charge HR as North America's number one selling activity tracking device. The company revealed on stage that "Fitbit" is googled more often than "Apple Watch."
Specs wise, the Fitbit Blaze is impressive. The watch has new "Fitstar" workout routines with animated images, connected GPS and automatic exercise recognition. Fitbit Blaze also shows smartphone notifications and can accept and reject calls. The battery lasts five days and nights, which means the watch's sleep tracking functions will stay working all throughout the night.
Fitbit is touting the sleep tracking as a core component of the watch's fitness features. The watch will use the "PurePulse" heart rate measuring technology to get an accurate reading of resting heart rate during the sleep cycle. This will give a better idea of the actual progress that's being made towards fitness goals.
With its unique hexagonal shape and curious name, Fitbit may struggle to prove the Blaze's style credentials. Fitbit stressed the device's versatility, claiming it to be at home both in the gym and on the red carpet. “One of the first things we learned in this industry is that fitness is personal – and if something isn’t your style, you won’t wear it,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. The company has planted its flag in the stylish smartwatch category, and it's now up to the consumers to see if they agree that Fitbit has the answer.
The Fitbit Blaze will cost $199, available with black, blue and plum bands and in small, large and extra large. Alternative bands are available from the Fitbit store. The device is up for pre-order today, with global availability from March 2016.