Fitbit launches lower-cost fitness devices to combat Samsung, Apple

Fitbit said the Versa Lite smartwatch will cost US$160, down from US$200 for the full version.
Fitbit said the Versa Lite smartwatch will cost US$160, down from US$200 for the full version.PHOTO: SLASHGEAR.COM

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - San Francisco-based Fitbit launched its cheapest smartwatch on Wednesday (March 6) in a bid to defend its place in the wearable electronics market, as larger rivals roll out devices aimed at helping users track their health.

Fitbit said the Versa Lite smartwatch will cost US$160, down from US$200 for the full version. While still tracking workouts and heart rate, it will lack some features such as the ability to store music directly on the watch.

Fitbit was the second-biggest seller of smartwatches in 2018, with 5.5 million units sold, behind Apple's 22.5 million units but just ahead of Samsung Electronics' 5.3 million units, according to data firm Strategy Analytics.

Samsung overtook Fitbit on a quarterly basis in the last quarter of 2018, and Fitbit's larger rivals have added features for health tracking, Fitbit's core focus.

Fitbit also announced new versions of its cheaper trackers: The US$100 Fitbit HR, capable of tracking heart rate, and the US$70 Ace 2, which tracks activity in children as young as 6 years old.