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Fitbit (FIT) Stock Jumps: Can Its Ionic Watch Take On Apple?

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Shares of Fitbit (FIT - Free Report) climbed on Monday after the struggling wearable tech company introduced its first ever smartwatch, the Ionic. Can Fitbit’s sleek tech-filled wristwatch help the company fight its way back as it tries to take on Apple (AAPL - Free Report) ?


Fitbit officially announced the new Ionic smartwatch, which is supposed to be the company’s answer to the Apple Watch, on Monday. However, the Ionic is currently only available for pre-sale on Fitbit’s website, with retailers set to sell the smartwatch starting in October.

The company’s inaugural smartwatch will feature Fitbit’s signature fitness tracking capabilities, as well as new contactless payment and music pairing options. Ionic users will also be able to pair their smartphones with the watch in order to receive notifications for calls, texts, and other basic alerts, as well as alerts from apps such as Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Instagram, Snapchat (SNAP - Free Report) , and many more.

The Ionic will also feature improved heart rate tracking, which includes tracking user’s heart rate zones and resting heart rate in real-time, around the clock. Additionally, the new watch has revamped GPS capabilities and an average battery life of more than four days.

The smartwatch also offers users access to personalized and adaptable workouts, and it is water resistant up to 50 meters, which will give the wearer the ability to track their swims.

Fitbit’s Ionic will also use a relative SpO2 sensor in order to estimate blood oxygen levels. The SpO2 sensor could allow the smartwatch to track more complex health indicators, such as sleep apnea.

Fitbit’s first foray into the smartwatch market has a $299.95 price tag and hopes to help the company become profitable again. The San Francisco-based wearable company has posted a loss in the last three quarters. The company also launched its new Aria 2 smart scale and Flyer wireless headphones on Monday.

Can Ionic Compete?

Fitbit, which became well known for its simple fitness wearables, has been hurt by massive competition in the market. Fitbit’s move into the smartwatch category comes at a time when free fitness tracking apps are readily available and smartphones often automatically track basic movement-based metrics.

Fitbit hopes the Ionic will help the company take on Apple. It is hardly an easy task to compete with one of the biggest companies in the world, but the goal is made even more difficult considering that the Apple Watch has a huge head start and starts at just $269.

“With Ionic, we will deliver what consumers have not yet seen in a smartwatch – a health and fitness first platform that combines the power of personalization and deeper insights with our most advanced technology to date, unlocking opportunities for unprecedented health tracking capabilities in the future,” Fitbit co-founder and CEO James Park said in a statement.

Fitbit also announced it partnered with Adidas AG (ADDYY - Free Report) to introduce a special edition watch and training programs in 2018. And Fitbit will add American Express (AMX - Free Report) , Mastercard (MA - Free Report) , and Visa (V - Free Report) credit and debit cards to its contactless payment options portfolio in the next few months.

Shares of Fitbit soared over 6% in morning trading to hit $6.17 a share. Still, Fitbit stock has fallen off a cliff since last September, when its stock price rested at over $17 per share. The company is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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