Fitbit unveils Alexa-enabled smartwatch and new fitness subscription service

Fitbit has announced its first smartwatch with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant built in, alongside a new subscription service for personalised fitness programmes and well-being tools.

The fitness tech firm’s new Versa 2 smartwatch contains a microphone which allows users to issue voice commands to Alexa to start workouts, help find a local gym, and even control smart home devices from their wrist.

The £200 smartwatch has been unveiled alongside the company’s new subscription-based membership programme, Fitbit Premium, which offers those who sign up greater detail on their health and fitness data, including sleep insights and personalised workouts.

Fitbit co-founder James Park said the Premium service – which will cost £7.99 a month or £79.99 a year and is available inside the Fitbit app – is the company’s “most personal experience yet”. This new offering reflects the increase in demand for personalisation, whether it be online or in store.

“It will evolve with you and get smarter over time, delivering the support and guidance you need to help you achieve your health goals,” he said.

The availability of technology enabling this personalisation, through investment of time and funds into research and development around healthtech is allowing consumers to become more selective when choosing a smartwatch. Fitbit’s latest announcement could be an indication of the level of competition in this area, coming just days after the BBC announced that they would launch their own voice assistant to rival Amazon’s Alexa.

“The launch of Premium also marks an important milestone as we expand our business beyond devices and deliver new and innovative ways to engage our more than 27 million active users, while also attracting new users to the Fitbit platform.”

The subscription service will include nine health and fitness programmes at launch, ranging from those aimed at improving sleep to increasing activity and managing nutrition, with more promised before the end of the year.

Fitbit said the service will also include content from well-being firm Headspace, workout classes from Daily Burn, and yoga sessions from Yoga Studio by Gaiam.

The Versa 2 smartwatch also includes the Spotify app to control music and a new AMOLED display that supports an “always-on” mode and improved battery life, which can last more than five days.

“We believe that health belongs to everyone and that people should not be priced out of having access to devices and features that can help them improve their health. That’s why we’ve designed Versa 2 to be a premium, full-featured and easy-to-use smartwatch at an accessible price point,” Mr Park said.

Building on the success of our original best-selling Versa smartwatch, we believe the added value and innovation in Versa 2 with new features like Alexa, a Spotify app and advanced in-app and on-device sleep features, will bring more users into the smartwatch category, allowing them to unlock the benefits of better health.

James Park, CEO and co-founder, Fitbit

Versa 2 will go on sale in mid-September.

The fitness company also announced a new Bluetooth smart scale – the Aria Air – which can be linked the Fitbit app and used to calculate body mass index (BMI) and help provide more accurate health and fitness data within the app.

Fitbit’s expansion of their business to better serve the needs of today’s consumer is mirrored by thousands of businesses across the UK, many of which are eligible to claim money back invested in research and development activity. If your business is creating something new, solving technical problems or improving an existing product or service then you could be missing out on valuable R&D tax credits. Get in touch to find out more.