Fitbit Exec Disses Smartwatches
As the market is flooded with more smartwatches promising to do a myriad of tasks, is there still a place for the plain old fitness band? Woody Scal, Fitbit’s chief revenue officer, says definitely “yes.” In an interview with Bloomberg Business, Scal made a case for why the smartwatch won’t be making the fitness band obsolete anytime in the near future.
The Fitbit exec called smartwatches “more hype than reality” and questioned how useful they really are for the average user. Scal said, “Consumers are still asking, ‘Why do I want one? Why do I need one?’”
Scal also made a case for dedicated fitness devices like the Fitbit, pointing out that they cost less, have longer battery life and appeal to a clearly defined audience of fitness buffs.
Fitbit currently holds a commanding lead in the field of wearable devices, selling an estimated 4.4 million units in the second quarter of 2015 and tripling its revenue from the same period the previous year. Still, the brand faces formidable competition from old rivals like Jawbone and Samsung as well as newer entries like the Apple Watch. The latter has sold about 3.6 million units since going on sale earlier this year, making it the favorite to overtake Fitbit for the number one spot in sales.
Scal went into more detail about the advantages that fitness devices have over smartwatches, most notably that the buyer of a Fitbit usually has clear goals in mind before making a purchase. The Fitbit’s longer battery life allows users to track their activities, heart rates and sleep for days without having to recharge the device. This is in contrast to most smartwatches that require nightly charging.
Scal also pointed out the low prices for the Fitbit, which can start at $60 for a basic model and go up to $250 for the Surge which comes equipped with smartwatch-like features including notifications for calls and text messages. The Apple Watch starts at $350 with several other smartwatches not far behind.