Fitbit unveils Flex: a wrist-worn activity, sleep tracker

By Brian Dolan
04:00 am

Fitbit Flex__ColorsAt the CES event in Las Vegas this week, Fitbit unveiled a new Bluetooth Smart-enabled, wrist-worn activity tracker, called Fitbit Flex. Like most of Fitbit's other trackers, the Flex also promises to help users track their sleep health if worn at night. All of Fitbit's previous activity trackers were intended to be worn clipped on to clothing or tucked into users' pockets. The Flex, which is priced at $99.95 for preorders and begin shipping this spring, is the first wrist-worn device from the company.

“We’re aware that there is no ‘one size fits all’ option in fitness, so Fitbit wants to offer the widest variety on the market," James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit said in a statement. "When we saw that we could bring our knowledge to a wristband format done right, we had to create the new Flex.”

Given the popularity of the Nike FuelBand, it's no surprise that more and more companies are offering activity trackers in wristband form factors.

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Fitbit FlexLike the Fitbit One, the new Flex device tracks a variety of metrics, but no more than its predecessor: Steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hours or sleep, and times woken up. It also offers a sleep efficiency index score and a silent alarm that vibrates the wristband to wake the user up. Like other Fitbit devices, the Flex also feeds data into the Fitbit portal and app where users can review activity charts and leaderboards, set goals, view progress and earn badges. Fitbit users can also share some of their data with other apps like Endomondo, LoseIt, MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and more.

Fitbit Flex sports a series of LED lights that indicate progress towards reaching a goal in 20 percent increments. The device also offers five different band colors so users have the option of switching the color of their device to accessorize.

Fitbit said Flex will leverage Bluetooth Smart (also known as Bluetooth 4) to seamlessly connect to Android devices. The company said that Fitbit users who have Fitbit Ones or Fitbit Zip will also soon be able to track their progress on select Android phones and devices like the Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Note II. Fitbit also announced that it had released an app built for Microsoft Surface Tablet users.

As part of its Flex announcement, Fitbit noted that it has experienced "triple-digit growth" for the fifth year in a row now. The Flex is just the latest product launch from the company since last year's CES where it unveiled the Fitbit Aria connected weight scale. A few months ago it also announced a stripped down activity tracking device, Fitbit Zip, and its first Bluetooth-enabled tracker Fitbit One, which replaced its second generation device, the Fitbit Ultra. Fitbit products are now sold in more than 10,000 US stores in addition to stores in countries like Canada, Spain, UK, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand.


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