Fitbit may delay Apple-rivaling smartwatch, headphones

Wearable Tech

by Joan E. Solsman April 12, 2017 7:41 AM PDT @joan_e

Production snafus may be tripping up the launch of a Fitbit smartwatch designed to compete with the Apple Watch.

The product is set to hit shelves in the second half of the year, after design problems -- like misplaced antennae fouling up GPS and trouble with waterproofing -- delayed them from a planned launch in the first half, according to a report by Yahoo Finance, citing two unnamed people familiar with the matter. It also reported that the watch is expected to cost $300.

Fitbit plans to release a pair of Bluetooth headphones alongside the watch, according to Yahoo Finance. The headphones will be similar to Apple's BeatsX.

A Fitbit representative said the company doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.

The new items are important for Fitbit, which has struggled to keep up sales growth as consumer interest in wearables appears to lose steam. Earlier this year, the company said it would cut 6 percent of its workforce as the sales troubles cut into its profit. Its Fitbit Blaze, released last year, was the company's biggest attempt yet at making an everyday watch somewhere between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch, and the upcoming products are meant to advance that progression.

The Yahoo report, which was also based on a presentation Fitbit meant for retail partners, said the upcoming smartwatch will have a color display comparable to the one in the Apple Watch Series 2, four days of battery life between charges, heart-rate monitoring, touchless payments, and support for streaming radio service Pandora.

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