Wearables Week in Review

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Week In Review

Fitbit looks to AFib

Fitbit is about to launch its first large-scale health study, in a bid to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib) via its range of wearables. The study will gather data from the participants and then analyze it for irregularities. Participants that show signs of an irregular heart beat will be connected to a virtual doctor (at no charge) for further assessment.

The NPD Take:

  • Apple is already far ahead, having published the results of its own study last year. As such, this is Fitbit playing catchup. Having said that, Fitbit’s consumer base is large with nearly 70 percent of activity tracker users owning a Fitbit.
  • Google is acquiring Fitbit, which means that this study will also help Google with WEAR OS developments, especially if the company does finally launch its own smartwatch (Pixel Watch). Either way, the addition of AFib tracking to the Fitbit range will broaden the lifespan of activity trackers, providing a cheaper alternative to the Apple Watch.

Alpina sticks with hybrid option

Swiss watchmaker, Alpiner, has announced a new version of its AlpinaX hybrid smartwatch, the AlpinerX Alive. The new version includes a heart rate sensor and built in GPS. The watch is primarily an analog watch, with a small color screen set into the bottom half which shows steps, battery, heart rate and so on. The hybrid functionality is the watch’s strength – and weakness – as it’s a small “smart screen” which will limit true functionality, yet has the advantage of allowing the company to maintain more of its traditional watch look and feel.

The NPD Take:

  • The Swiss watchmakers are certainly ramping up their smartwatch capabilities as this is the fourth launch we’ve seen in the past eight weeks or so. They can all be summed up as being expensive, and unique, which is exactly the market these companies have always focused on. Will they make a large impact on the smartwatch market? No. But they will help protect the watchmakers’ core bases.
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