Yahoo Finance has nabbed a couple of photos reported to show Fitbit’s upcoming smartwatch, along with a handful of reports that make the whole undertaking sound like one big fiasco. Sources are talking complaints about design, production delays, antenna issues and software problems.
The device looks to share design language with the company’s Blaze device, which was something between a fitness tracker and a full-fledged smartwatch. A source told Yahoo that the device, codenamed “Higgs,” is “definitely not sexy,” which the renders seem to bear out.
It’s said to sport GPS, have local storage for music and built-in heart-rate monitoring. The contactless payment and four-day battery life, meanwhile, seem like no-brainers, given some of the acquisitions the company has made over the past year. It’s also apparently scheduled to arrive with some optional Bluetooth headphones, marking a new product category for the wearable maker.
The device was reportedly due out in the spring in an attempt to get it out well before Apple’s next watch announcement, but a number of factors have apparently pushed it back to the fall. Among them are GPS problems due to antenna placement and some recently reported software issues.
As a number of other hardware makers have been abandoning the smartwatch space due to declining consumer interest, Fitbit has run toward it, picking up troubled pioneer Pebble, along with Vector and Coin in hopes of making a device that would crack the whole space wide open, as few beyond Apple and Garmin are really making a go of things.
Fitbit’s been undergoing its own growing pains in recent years, but CEO James Park believes that a well-made smartwatch could be precisely what turns around the wearable maker’s fortunes.
“We believe we are uniquely positioned to succeed in delivering what consumers are looking for in a smartwatch: stylish, well-designed devices that combine the right general purpose functionality with a focus on health and fitness,” Park said in a statement that arrived as the company was announcing a six percent staff cut. “With the recent acquisition of assets from Pebble, Vector Watch and Coin, we are taking action to position the company for long-term success.”
The future success of the company is a lot to hang on a single device, and as such Fitbit has clearly invested everything into the product. Perhaps too much, in fact. Three acquisitions, disrupting the smartwatch space and its own long-term health are a lot to pour into a single device. Fitbit will really need to get this one right. Thus far, at least, it sounds like it’s been doing anything but.