Fitbit says its long-awaited smartwatch will be ready for the holidays

Fitbit Blaze

In its second-quarter earnings report today, fitness-tracking company Fitbit said that its long-awaited smartwatch, which we’ve reported has been delayed due to production issues, will be available by this holiday season.

On the earnings call, chief executive James Park said that Fitbit’s new smartwatch will have health and fitness tracking features, will have GPS, will be be water resistant up to 50 meters, and will offer cross-platform compatibility as well as “multi-day battery life.”

But the company still hasn’t said exactly when it will ship. When an analyst asked about this on the call, Fitbit chief financial officer Bill Zerella said that the “vast majority of revenue in Q3 will be related to legacy products,” indicating that consumers shouldn’t expect a new smartwatch before the fourth quarter of the calendar year.

Fitbit claimed it is “uniquely positioned” for success as it competes head-to-head with Apple in the smartwatch category, citing its experience building health and fitness-tracking products and its prior success with Fitbit Blaze fitness watch. It also said it is actively looking into tracking conditions like sleep apnea.

“We have a firm vision of the future,” Park said. “Devices are a means to an end.”

Fitbit’s second quarter earnings beat expectations, with revenues of $353.3 million for the quarter compared with analyst expectations of $341.6 million.

But the lull between its last product launch and the upcoming smartwatch launch has resulted in contracted revenue and unit sales declines. The company reported that US revenue contracted 55 percent to $199 million year over year, and revenue from the Americas excluding the US contracted 11 percent to $24 million. Its unit sales were down significantly year-over-year as well. Last year in the second quarter Fitbit sold 5.7 million activity trackers. This year: 3.4 million devices.

Fitbit did see a fair amount of growth in the Asia-Pacific region, with revenue growing 21 percent from a year ago to $21 million. Its average selling price increased two percent from a year ago (which helps Fitbit make the case that it can sell higher-priced items like ... smartwatches.). And it managed to reduce its operating costs by seven percent, due partly to cutbacks in marketing and advertising spend.

Fitbit has sold 67 million Fitbits total to date; its Charge 2 wearable is its most popular wearable right now.

Comments

I really hope they put out a worthy successor to the Pebble, but I’m not exactly holding my breath. I’ve no idea what I’m gonna do when the time finally comes to replace my, well, Time.

I wouldn’t count on it both because images of the watch leaked a few months back and Fitbit didn’t buy Pebble outright. They only bought their SDK/related software pieces. From what other sources have said the hardware was being done by the Vector team (where Fitbit bought out the entire company for the hardware assets).

There’s a better chance of an ex employee or some one else starting up a new e-ink watch company (with custom faces and all) and crowdfunding it.

*e-paper, Pebble’s screen is essentially just an old monochrome reflective LCD. Like what used to be in the old game boys. And the newer color pebbles are akin to the game boy color.

If they had reported it would not be ready for the holidays, their stock would have gone down 25%.

I hope that this one vibrates when your phone rings, and vibrate strongly. The last two my husband had the connection to the phone was unreliable.

It didn’t vibrate at all, started vibrating on the 3rd or 4th ring and did not vibrate strongly enough to notice.

If he did not like the software and want to make sure he retained his steps we would have switched a while ago.

If a smartwatch cannot vibrate reliably and noticeably to a phone’s rings what good is it?

They are really going to have to hit it out of the ballpark, especially considering that a new Apple Watch is likely around the corner sometime in the next 12 months, which will make the series 2 even cheaper (which already has waterproofing, GPS and bluetooth audio.)

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