Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
14 January 2016
The Fitbit Blaze
As a gadget guy, I’ve dabbled in the world of wearable technology and have looked at everything from the Apple Watch to the new Fitbit Blaze.
For a time, I gave the original Fitbit a shot. I liked it enough, but soon found the charging and syncing process to be a few too many steps than I wanted with a wearable device. I was also overly worried about the clasp coming undone (which happened once) and hitting the pavement. First world concerns, I know.
I bought a Pebble Steel too but I didn’t stop there. I gave the Apple Watch Sport a go and loved the device — it was everything a Fitbit was plus a ton of apps, and it looked great.
While I loved the Apple Watch, I went back to my classic pocket watch timepieces. Folks that know me can attest to my penchant for these classic beauties. From now on, I’ll always have one connected to my belt loop and resting in my pocket.
Consequentially, while I no longer have wearable tech on my wrist, I get the gist of the market.
Fitbit Blaze is copying the Apple Watch.
In my experience, therefore, not even the Fitbit Blaze has the functionality of the Apple Watch.
The Fitbit Blaze, which was introduced at the Las Vegas CES convention, looks a lot like an Apple Watch and not much like the Fitbit aesthetic.
This is unfortunate as the Q3 earning call for Fitbit was unrivaled, prompting many to call it the “most successful wearable tech company on the planet.” That claim wasn’t an understatement. The company’s revenue was up from $152.9 million to $409.3 million (which came about by having 4.8 million units sold.) However, since the introduction of the Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit’s stocks have plummeted, hitting an all-time low of $18.50.
The wearable market is confused by the Fitbit Blaze.
When you create a device that looks similar to a product created by one of the most coveted brands in the world, you have a problem on your hands – or better, wrist.
Fitbit has claimed that its segment of the market is entirely different than Apple’s. It is right to say that. The Fitbit line, including the Fitbit Blaze, is all about health. Therefore, the devices are intentionally simple because they serve one purpose: to act as a monitor for those seeking an active lifestyle. So why is the Fitbit Blaze more like an Apple Watch than Fitbit?
Fitbit must be sure that the physical nature of the devices it constructs remains both visually and tactilely similar to its brand. To run from that mindset is to ignore what gave it a huge percentage of the wearable market.
Ultimately, the introduction of the Fitbit Blaze should serve as a foreboding symbol for Fitbit. The company should take a hint from Apple and think different.
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