Fitbit is introducing its first fitness band dedicated for kids ages eight and up. The Fitbit Ace is basically an adapted version of the Fitbit Alta, with a smaller, adjustable band to fit tinier wrists and a revised software to remove data that may not be as relevant to younger users, such as calories burned. Parents will be required to make an account for children aged 12 and under to get them started on the Fitbit Ace.
The goal for Fitbit Ace, the company says, is to encourage kids to build habits around being physically active from an early age. Parents can use the Fitbit app to track their kids’ activity levels and hours slept, and approve the contacts kids can add to share their activities and reward badges with. Fitbit says Ace accounts will not be allowed to join the social component of the regular Fitbit app, which lets users share photos and workout summaries in an Instagram-like feed. Kids will also be limited to just 10 watchfaces they can use to customize their fitness bands, compared to the hundreds available from third-party developers for Fitbit Ionic and Versa. Like the Alta, the Ace is showerproof and advertises a battery life of up to five days.
Instead of developing a brand-new form factor for kids, Fitbit says it adapted from the Alta because they want to target children who are becoming old enough to start paying attention to their fitness. Fitbit’s vice president of product marketing Melanie Chase says the idea is to easily transition kids between their fitness tracker and the adult version, while also helping children feel more mature by using a product that looks and feels grown up.
Ace is essentially a lite version of the Alta
For kids, Ace will display fitness and sleep goals that are appropriate for their age. For example, while the CDC recommends 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week and at least seven hours of sleep for adults, the guideline for kids is actually 60 minutes of daily activity and at least nine hours for school aged kids. Like a regular Fitbit, the Ace uses push notifications to encourage children to increase their steps or get moving if it senses a sustained period of inactivity.
Fitbit’s hardly the first wearable maker to try to lure kids in at a young age. Garmin introduced the Vivofit Jr back in 2016, which is a kid-friendly version of its popular Vivofit wristband. There’s also the LeapFrog LeapBand, which is aimed at kids aged four to seven and comes with 50 built-in games or “challenges” that are supposed to incentivize kids to get moving.
Both of those also happen to cost less than Fitbit Ace. While the Ace is essentially a lite version of the Alta, its price of $99.95 is roughly same as what the adult version currently sells for (Alta’s original MSRP is $129 when it came out in 2016) It’s available for preorder today in two colors — purple or blue — and it will ship in Q2 this year.