Fitbit announces Versa 2 and Aria Air hardware with subscription Premium service
Fitbit's fall releases are designed to use its vast insights from years of data collection and medical expertise to help improve your sleep, health, and workout strategy. A new watch, a new scale, and a new subscription service will soon be available.
As the summer season comes to a close, Fitbit wants to help you improve your lifestyle with a personalized experience and a couple of pieces of hardware to help you monitor your experiences and gauge your progress to success. These three new products will roll out starting in September. Fitbit Premium will be available to any Fitbit user and is not limited just to buyers of the new Versa 2 watch.
Fitbit's research shows that 14 million US adults subscribe to a health and wellness app at an average cost of $174 annually. Fitbit Premium is designed to serve as the only personalized solution you need with a price of $9.99/month or $79.99/year. As a fan of wearables, I appreciate Fitbit's attempt to offer a tailored, personal service to Fitbit users and if Premium can truly serve as this single service, then the price seems very reasonable.
For those wondering about the existing Fitbit Coach service, Premium doesn't replace Fitbit Coach. Fitbit Coach is now a part of Premium. A single subscription gets access to Premium and the workouts in the Fitbit Coach app. Existing Fitbit Coach subscribers will get access to new Premium features at no additional cost.
According to Fitbit, the company collaborated with academic and medical experts from Fitbit's Advisory Panel, which include clinical and exercise psychologists, nutritionists, sleep scientists and more to give you access to a range of tools tailored to you, based on your fitness level, goals, historical data, preferences and schedule. When Fitbit Premium launches in September, it will provide nine guided health and fitness programs. These include Intro to Healthy Habits, Get More Zzz's, Habits for Restful Sleep, Get Active, Beginner Running, Run Training, Understand Calories, Kick Your Sugar Habit and Kick Your Salt Habit. The programs contain coaching, workout plans, recipe suggestions, and much more. A personal, one-to-one coaching service will launch in 2020.
Over the past couple of years Fitbit has established itself as a leader in sleep tracking and analysis with some of the best tools to help you fully understand your sleep and help you sleep longer and smarter. Advanced analysis will be a part of the Fitbit Premium experience and I can't wait to see more direct insights related to sleep. This is one area of my lifestyle that I have been trying to improve, but still need to work on.
A Premium subscription will also provide you with a wellness report that you can share with your doctor, trainer, or nutrionist as you try to improve your lifestyle. There will be some launch offers for Premium with all Fitbit users eligible for a one-week free trial.
The Fibit Versa and Versa Lite are very popular smartwatches that meet the needs of millions of consumers. The new Fitbit Versa 2 improves on these devices with a refined design, vibrant larger AMOLED display, a microphone for the integrated Alexa experience, and Fitbit Pay on all models.
One thing I am extremely pleased to see, that I experienced on Jawbone UP devices years ago, is the smart wake function that will sound the alarm when you hit a light or REM sleep cycle to help you wake up more refreshed. I've been waiting for another company to enable this functionality and this has the potential to be the best new feature for the Versa 2. This smartwatch functionality will actually launch on all Fitbit smartwatches with a future software update.
The Alexa functionality is interesting and I'll have to test it out to see if it is as useful as advertised. The idea is that you can quickly and easily find out answers to your questions, check the weather or news, control smart home devices, and more as we see with Siri or Bixby on other competing smartwatches. A connection with your smartphone is required for the Alexa functionality to work.
Previously, Fitbit Pay was limited to higher-end Fitbit smartwatches, but with the Versa 2 Fitbit Pay is included by default. While watch-based payments are supported, you can also use Fitbit Pay for accessing mass transit systems around the world.
A Spotify app is also now available for the Versa 2 that supports control of your Spotify music on your phone. Offline Spotify music support is not offered on Fitbit smartwatches at this time.
The Versa 2 will be available on 15 September for $199.95 in black with a carbon case, petal with a copper rose aluminum cae, and stone with a grey mist case. There are a plethora of case options for the Versa 2, including classic, sport, woven, leather, and collector bands in a variety of colors ranging in price from $29.95 to $99.95. A Versa 2 Special Edition will be available for $229.95 in navy and pink with a copper rose aluminum case and smoke with mist grey case.
I tested out the Fibit Aria 2 WiFi scale a couple of years ago, but it was a bit of a tough sale at $129.95. In order to provide a more affordable option for Fitbit users trying to lose weight and improve their health, Fitbit announced the $49.95 Aria Air scale.
The Aria Air connects via Bluetooth to your phone and syncs to the Fitbit app to measure and track your weight. BMI is calculated within the Fitbit app. Fitbit stated that 73 percent of Fitbit users who set a weight loss goal reduced their weight after six months of tracking it so weight tracking is a key to successful weight loss.
Your weight data can also be synced to other apps to help you log food and manage your intake.