Fitbit launches Ultra device, iPhone app

By Chris Gullo
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Fitbit UltraFitbit launched its second generation fitness tracking device, called Fitbit Ultra, which features new metrics and wireless features. The company also announced the launch of its first iPhone app. These are the first new product launches since the company debuted its flagship offering back in 2009.

Like the original Fitbit device, the Ultra is a wireless-enabled, fitness and calorie tracking device small enough to clip on to the user’s clothing. Fitbit leverages an internal motion detector to track the wearer’s movement, sleep, and calorie burn during both the day and night. Fitbit provides users with metrics like: steps taken, miles traveled, calories burned, calories consumed, bedtime, time to fall asleep, number of times awoken, total time in bed, and actual time sleeping.

Some of Ultra's new features include: a Stair Tracker that measures vertical steps via a new built-in altimeter, a Chatter motivational message system, and a Stopwatch Challenge for beating previous running times. New online tools and apps include badges for completing fitness challenges and a weight management tool that adjusts itself based on completed activities. Fitbit's first iPhone App also includes food tracking and activity-planning features.

"At Fitbit, we are dedicated to creating everyday health and fitness products that are easy for people to incorporate into their lives. People want an easy to use tracker that gives them real-time stats to help them make smart decisions through their day, is comfortable and discreet to wear, uploads wirelessly and is affordable," stated CEO James Park in a press release. "For Ultra, we held true to this. People often overlook the power of stairs in achieving fitness. By combining stair climbing with social and motivational features, we think we can help people fit more fitness into their everyday lives in a fun and easy way."

Fitbit Ultra is now available at Fitbit's website for $99.95 in blue and a new color, Plum, and will be available by mid-October in select U.S. retail locations. The field for connected fitness devices has ramped up steadily since Fitbit's original launch in 2009 -- here's a look at about a dozen such comparable devices that MobiHealthNews put together earlier this year.

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Read the press release after the jump.

PRESS RELEASE -- Fitbit, the market leader in wireless activity tracking, today launched their newest tracker, the Fitbit Ultra. The Ultra contains all the core functionality of the original tracker: tracking steps, distance, sleep, wireless uploads to Fitbit.com, and free online tools, with a device display for real-time feedback. By combining new fitness features such as tracking stairs climbed with additional social and motivational online tools, plus Fitbit's first iPhone app, the Ultra aims to provide a more powerful and fun way for people get more fit and active throughout their busy days.

Brand new features include:

Stair Tracker – Track how many stairs or hills you climb each day; Ultra now contains a state-of the-art altimeter

Chatter – Motivational messages like "Walk Me" appear throughout the day

Greeting – Name your Fitbit Ultra and it will appear on your display – "Jane" or "FitBuddy"

Stopwatch – Challenge yourself to beat a previous time or annotate specific workouts

Clock – See the time directly on the display screen

Colors – Choose between blue and plum

Additional new online tools and apps:

Badges for climbing stairs, steps, and distance keep you motivated.

New ways to share fitness achievements on Facebook or Twitter to tap into your support network.

Easier ways to find friends to compete with or share out your fitness progress achievements.

Food Goal, a weight management tool that dynamically changes based on activities you complete during the day.

Fitbit's first iPhone App for tracking food and activities on the go.

"At Fitbit, we are dedicated to creating everyday health and fitness products that are easy for people to incorporate into their lives. People want an easy to use tracker that gives them real-time stats to help them make smart decisions through their day, is comfortable and discreet to wear, uploads wirelessly and is affordable," said CEO James Park.

"For Ultra, we held true to this. People often overlook the power of stairs in achieving fitness. By combining stair climbing with social and motivational features, we think we can help people fit more fitness into their everyday lives in a fun and easy way."

The new Fitbit Ultra Wireless Activity Tracker is currently available in the U.S. and Canada by ordering online at www.fitbit.com for $99.95 and will be available by mid-October in select retail locations across the U.S.

Walking and Taking the Stairs Adds Up, and Up and Up

Trend research indicates our shift to a more sedentary lifestyle is slowly taking its toll on our health. Health experts advise that we can minimize the negative impacts of low physical activity in our lives in simple ways: by walking and being generally more active throughout our day. Also, recent studies show that adding stair climbing into a daily routine is proven to lower body fat, minimize waist circumference and burn up to 400% more calories than walking.

The new Fitbit Ultra is the only all-day activity tracker to measure floors climbed. Ultra's accelerometer and state-of-the-art altimeter technology work together to track movement from climbing the stairs. This smart technology combination understands the difference between climbing stairs and taking the elevator.

Fitbit also updated its online dashboard to better track personal fitness metrics and achievements for a more visually motivating, comprehensive experience. For example, Fitbit.com compares daily climb activities to well-known landmarks around the world such as The Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu.

About Fitbit

Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, CA, Fitbit is the market leader for wireless activity trackers. Fitbit is dedicated to delivering simple, innovative health and fitness products and services that engage people to lead healthier, more active lives by giving them the tools to become more aware, more motivated and more fit every day. Fitbit is funded by the Foundry Group, True Ventures, and SoftTech VC. Fitbit products can be purchased on www.fitbit.com or through any one of our many retail partners, like Best Buy, REI, Amazon, Radio Shack and 24 Hour Fitness. For more information please visit www.fitbit.com and connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.