Fitbit's new Surge smartwatch, which the company announced Oct. 27, is its first venture into the dedicated smartwatch marketplace, bringing Fitbit into more direct competition against companies, such as Apple, Samsung, Sony and LG.
The new Surge was unveiled by the company in a blog post as a "Fitness Super Watch," as one of three new devices to offer wide-ranging fitness tracking for users. Fitbit devices in the past didn't include integrated smartwatch features or capabilities, previously making them niche devices for exercise, athletic training and in-event sports performance.
That all changes with the new Surge smartwatch, which for the first time includes features such as Caller ID, text alerts and mobile music control for wearers.
The Surge, which will retail for $249.95 and be available to consumers sometime in early 2015, also includes typical fitness-tracking features, such as continuous 24/7 heart-rate monitoring and built-in GPS that provides details on exercise pace, distance, elevation, split times, route history and workout summaries. Also included is the ability to record monitoring for multi-sport activities such as running, cross-training and strength workouts.
The new device collects its information using eight sensors, including three-axis accelerometers, a gyroscope, a compass, an ambient light sensor, GPS and heart-rate monitors, to provide detailed workout tracking information for its users. The data is displayed on a backlit LCD touch-screen that includes customizable watch faces, while the device can operate for up to 7 days on a charge, according to Fitbit.
The Surge will come in black initially, with blue and tangerine to be added later.
The wearable device market is expected to top 19 million units this year, and jump to 111.9 million units in 2018, IDC analysts said in April. Canalys analysts in September said the wearable band market will grow 129 percent a year, hitting 43.2 million units in 2015. Of those, 28.2 million will be smartbands, with the other 15 million being basic bands (which, unlike smartbands, cannot run third-party applications), the analysts said.