Fitbit Ionic long-term review: Fitbit may be on track for a wearable win

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I reviewed the Fitbit Ionic when it launched late last year, and at the time I didn’t much care for it. I was not into the design, and there were multiple software issues. I’ve continued to wear the watch on and off since then, and I spent about a week with the Fitbit Versa just recently. The Ionic has gotten several updates since my original review, including the recent bump to FitbitOS 2.0 that matches what ships on the Versa. With Google’s Wear OS still on a downward trajectory, I’m giving Fitbit’s flagship smartwatch another shot.

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Fitbit Ionic long-term review: Fitbit may be on track for a wearable win was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Fitbit is crashing after a pretty rough note from Wall Street

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Fitbit shaved off another roughly 10% of its value in trading today after a downgrade from a Wall Street firm, which will once again throw on more skepticism as to whether or not Fitbit can be a viable business in the smartwatch market.

The note came from Morgan Stanley this morning, which said it was “hard to see a floor” for the company. This comes amid an increased push from Apple to position its smartwatch as a health-oriented device through a myriad of updates for its health tools, as well as efforts to actually detach it from your smartphone with its own cellular chip. These kinds of notes often tend to send stocks soaring or tumbling depending on the direction they go in as investors look to better calibrate their positions in the market.

Fitbit is working on its next generation of smartwatches that look to go up against the Apple Watch, including the new Fitbit Versa, which my colleague Brian Heater said was the watch “the smartwatch the Ionic should have been” (Fitbit’s first foray into the smartwatch ecosystem, which was a bust). The company is also working on a fitness tracker for kids, and appears to be still doubling down on that health aspect of its wearables that first made it a popular choice among consumers in the first place. Fitbit also bought Twine, a cloud-based health management platform, in February.

Here’s another one of the rough excerpts from the note published by CNBC: “We think new smartwatches will be outweighed by declines in legacy products, while software opportunities in health coaching will take time to ramp.”

Fitbit made its name as a fitness tracker, but Apple increasingly has come out pitching itself not only as a fitness tracker, but one with a robust toolkit for health in general. In addition to a heart monitor, Apple has the ability to create a whole health software ecosystem tied directly into the iPhone, which apps like MyFitnessPal and others can use for data. So Apple will clearly be the biggest hurdle for Fitbit as it looks to figure out what its next-generation fitness wearable looks like, especially as Apple if Apple looks to continue to drop the price of the Apple Watch.

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12 Free Pedometer Apps That Are Better Than Fitbit

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Do you get your 10,000 steps every day? To answer this question, many people will immediately look to their wrist, where a Fitbit (or another fitness tracker) will immediately provide an answer.

These glorified pedometers now offer features ranging from basic step/calorie counting (Fitbit Zip), to models with full smartwatch capabilities (Fitbit Versa).

Fitbits are now recognized as an essential tool for anyone interested in losing weight, staying active, or becoming more physically fit. But in reality, that’s simply not true.

You Don’t Need a Fitbit…

There’s no arguing the facts. Fitbit has created a targeted product with great features that can enable some people to change their habits for the better and lead healthier lives.

But there’s also no arguing this fact: you don’t need a Fitbit to see these results. Why?

Fitbits don’t make you healthier. Evidence from scientific studies suggests that wearable activity trackers don’t have lasting results on people’s habits. And while some studies occasionally show a slight increase in user’s active minutes per day, it’s rarely enough to actually have a lasting impact on someone’s health or fitness.

Fitbit’s measurements aren’t as accurate as they’d like you to believe. See also the ongoing lawsuit regarding the accuracy of Fitbit’s heart rate tracker, and reasons your Fitbit isn’t tracking all of your steps.

Fitbits are expensive. You don’t need to spend between $ 70 and $ 250 to count your steps when there are other alternatives available for free!

…But You Do Need to Exercise

This article isn’t meant to discourage anyone from walking more and sitting less. After all, current research suggests a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest risks for heart disease, stroke, obesity, and death.

Your best protection against many diseases and health risks is to regularly participate in physical activity focused on endurance (150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous cardiovascular activity per week), strength, and flexibility.

Of course, changing your habits can be hard. This is why so many people are drawn to Fitbit. The product offers gentle reminders to get moving, a way to track how much exercise you’ve done in a given week, and gives you a sense of achievement when you meet your goals.

Yet most people already carry their phones with them every day, and they can track your steps using built-in motion sensors. Since we already know that wearables aren’t as accurate as they promise, and that improving your physical activity is about making overall changes in your lifestyle rather than reaching a magic number of steps, an inexpensive app can be your best bet to move towards a healthier lifestyle.

So before you spend a ton of money on a wearable band, why not look at the apps on this list first?

The Best Built-In Pedometer Apps

Want the easiest solution of all? These apps are designed to work directly with your phone.

1. Apple Health

Apple Health is a comprehensive app automatically installed on every iPhone 5s and newer. The app is a way to keep track of all your health and fitness data from a multitude of devices and apps. However, it also has a simple Steps feature that tracks your activity throughout the day.

2. Google Fit

free pedometer apps - Google Fit Steps

Unlike its Apple counterpart, Google Fit is not automatically installed on your smartphone. But after installing, it’s incredibly easy to track activity of any kind. You can also track your calories burned, set goals, and check your stats online on Google Fit’s web portal.

Download: Google Fit for Android | Web (Free)

The Best Basic Pedometer Apps

If you want a pedometer app that offers basic functionality without draining your battery life, these apps are excellent options.

3. Stepz

Stepz is a simple app for people who just need a little extra motivation to get walking. The app offers reminders to get moving throughout your day, and shows simple visualizations of your activity habits so you can track your improvement over time. Plus you don’t even need to open the app to see how you’re doing, because your daily steps show automatically in your app’s icon badge.

Download: Stepz for iOS (Free)

4. Accupedo

Accupedo is an ideal choice for Android and iOS users who want an easy way to check their activity levels throughout the day. The app offers a widget for your home screen, daily reminders and summary emails, and an intelligent algorithm that can distinguish between walking and other activities that may cause your phone to move.

Download: Accupedo for iOS | Android (Free)

The Best Visual Pedometer Apps

If you respond better to visual presentations of data than numbers, these apps are for you.

5. StepsApp Pedometer

free pedometer apps - StepsApp Pedometer

StepsApp offers several different visualizations of your health data, including customizable calendar views, line graphs, and a daily widget. The app offers GPS functionality for workout sessions, and a mode that tracks wheelchair pushes in lieu of steps.

Download: StepsApp Pedometer for iOS (Free)

6. Argus

Argus arguably has one of the most innovative pedometer app designs. The appealing honeycomb look of the app’s home screen offers you quick insight into a number of health-related data points. These include steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, caffeine intake, your daily calorie intake, and more.

Download: Argus for iOS | Android (Free)

The Best Route-Tracking Pedometer Apps

Interested in both how far you walk and where exactly you’ve ended up along the way? These apps offer GPS tracking functionality, but be aware that these apps may drain your battery faster than their GPS-free counterparts!

7. Map My Walk

Map My Walk (owned by Under Armour) is one of the best-known apps on this list. The app tracks your walking distance, pace, and calories burned as well as your route. You can then share your route with friends, or explore other walking routes near you for new adventures.

Download: Map My Walk for iOS | Android (Free)

8. Walker

free pedometer apps - Walker Pedometer

Walker has similar features to Map My Walk without the large focus on community interactions. You can see overviews of your activity at a glance, as well as a daily step count, and activate your GPS tracking for dedicated walks.

Download: Walker for iOS (Free)

The Best Community-Oriented Pedometer Apps

Want to really step up your step count? Challenge yourself by competing with other users in these pedometer apps.

9. Fitbit

Fitbit Challenges

Some of the best motivation Fitbit provides is its ability to compete with friends and family members across the globe. Believe it or not, you don’t need to purchase a Fitbit to join in.

Instead, download the app and then select No Fitbit Yet when creating an account. You will then be guided through the MobileTrack setup and can log your steps to compete in challenges using your phone’s sensor.

Download: Fitbit for iOS | Android (Free)

10. Quped

Want the fun of competing with others without having to interact with people directly? Quped is an app developed by researchers at the University of Glasgow. Instead of comparing you with individual people, you can see how your stats stack up with norms for people of the same age and gender as you.

Download: Quped for iOS (Free)

The Best Pedometer Apps That Reward You

Sure, being healthy is its own reward. But with these apps you can also earn reward points, discounts, or donations to charity simply by walking more. If these apps don’t inspire you to get a few extra steps in each day, we’re not sure what will.

11. Unicef Kid Power

Want a great way to teach your child about being physically active and giving back to those in need? The Unicef Kid Power app can use a dedicated wristband or your child’s phone to track activity in engaging and entertaining ways. Steps earned and challenges completed result in points that are then turned into food donations organized by Unicef.

Want a similar app targeted at adults? Try Charity Miles.

Download: Unicef Kid Power for iOS | Android (Free)
Download: Charity Miles for iOS | Android (Free)

12. Winwalk

Winwalk is a basic pedometer app that transforms your steps into points, which you can then redeem for gift cards and discounts to major brands. Every 100 steps is equal to one coin, with a maximum of 100 coins per day. Rewards available are based on your location.

Download: Winwalk for Android (Free)

Other Location-Based Rewards Apps

Getting Healthy Without a Fitbit

While Fitbits are fun gadgets to have, they’re definitely not necessary for improving your health. Instead, try out one of these apps for a few weeks (or longer) to see if it provides enough motivation for you to change your physical activity habits.

Still not convinced? There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you buy a Fitbit.

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Weekly Roundup: Xiaomi Redmi 5, Honor 7C, Alcatel 1x Android Oreo (Go Edition), Fitbit Versa and more

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This week Xiaomi launched its budget Redmi 5 smartphone in India. Huawei’s Honor brand introduced the Honor 7C in China, Huawei introduced the P20 Lite and Nova 2 lite, Micromax launched the Bharat 5 Pro, and lots more that happened this week in our weekly roundup. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi0-NtD1BZA Xiaomi launched the Redmi 5 smartphone in India. It packs  a 5.7-inch HD+ 18:9 full-screen display and is powered by Snapdragon 450 with up to 3GB RAM. It runs Android 7.1.2 (Nougat) with MIUI 9, has a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1.25μm pixel size sensor and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with selfie flash, similar to the Redmi Note 5. It has a metal finish, similar to the Redmi Note 5, is just 7.7mm thick, making it 11% slimmer than the Redmi 4. It has a fingerprint sensor on the back and packs a 3300mAh battery. It comes in Black, Gold, Rose Gold and Lake Blue colors, is starts at Rs. 7999 for the 2GB RAM with 16GB storage version and the top-end 4GB RAM with 64GB storage version costs Rs. 10,999. It will be available exclusively from Amazon.in, Mi.com and Mi Home Stores starting March 20th. Huawei’s Honor brand announced  Honor 7C with a 5.99-inch HD+ 2.5D curved glass display with 18:9 aspect ratio, Snapdragon 450 with up to 4GB RAM, …
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ProBeat: Google’s Wear OS needs a champion to take on Apple, Fitbit, and Xiaomi

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Google rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS by Google yesterday. It’s a marketing change meant to signal the wearable operating system does not require Android (even though that hasn’t been the case in years), but it practically changes nothing. What Wear OS really needs is a champion that will not only showcase what the platform has to of…Read More
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Quick Takes: Fitbit Executive Says He Hasn’t Met Anyone Passionate About Owning an Apple Watch

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Thursday, March 15

1. Fitbit’s financial chief knocks the Apple Watch: “I have yet to meet anyone who owns an Apple Watch who’s passionate about the product,” said Fitbit’s chief financial officer Bill Zerella. “If you don’t have an Apple phone, you’re not buying an Apple Watch… 80% of the world is Android, not Apple.”

Apple Watch Series 3 and Fitbit’s new Versa smartwatch

Commentary: Not only is the Apple Watch the world’s most popular smartwatch, but it’s the best-selling wearable, ahead of Fitbit. Apple Watch also has a customer satisfaction rate well above 90 percent.

2. iHeartMedia has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: The company operates Apple Music rival iHeartRadio, which provides free streaming of thousands of live radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The move will allow the company to restructure more than $20 billion in debt.

Commentary: iHeartMedia’s day-to-day operations of its businesses are not expected to be dramatically affected, according to reports, so iHeartRadio should remain available for at least the foreseeable future.

3. What the HomePod should become: MacStories‘ Ryan Christoffel argues that the HomePod isn’t a bad product today, but could evolve into a great one by becoming a true hub for all Apple-centric needs.

If Siri knew all things about your Apple devices and services, and could interact with them all, then HomePod would be the perfect vehicle to tap into that power. You could ask Siri on the HomePod to:

– Check your iPhone’s battery charge.
– Play an audiobook.
– Add a show to your Up Next queue.
– Download a specific app to your iPhone.
– Pause or resume Apple TV playback.
– List upcoming birthdays for your contacts.
– Provide a delivery status on your Apple Store order.
– Put all your devices in Do Not Disturb mode.
– Play a specific movie or show on the Apple TV.
– Or on the bedroom TV, or the iPad, or iPhone.
– Locate your iPhone or iPad.
– Each device could play a ding if it’s nearby, and if not, HomePod could offer to load a map on your nearest device.
– Make a phone call.
– Switch your AirPods to the Apple TV.
– Set an Apple Store support appointment.
– Open an app on a certain device.
– Put a screensaver on the TV.

None of these things can currently be done by HomePod, but I think they would all be reasonable to expect from an upgraded Siri. None of these would infringe on the company’s user privacy stance, because the data at play in these requests is already available to Apple.

Commentary: While the HomePod has received rave reviews about how it sounds, the consensus is that the speaker isn’t as smart as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Being able to complete these tasks would be a huge step forward.

4. Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus responds to claim that Siri was a “disaster” when it first launched on iPhone 4s: “This statement, wholly false, was made by the architect and head of the biggest launch disaster in Apple history, Apple Maps. In reality Siri worked great at launch but, like any new platform under unexpectedly massive load, required scaling adjustments and 24 hour workdays.”


Commentary: “After launch, Siri was a disaster,” said former Apple executive Richard Williamson, who was reportedly fired in 2012 following the botched launch of Apple Maps. “It was slow, when it worked at all. The software was riddled with serious bugs. Those problems lie entirely with the original Siri team, certainly not me.”

For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

Discuss this article in our forums


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Fitbit Versa is a new $200 smartwatch, Fitbit Ace for kids also revealed

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Fitbit Versa official

Smartwatches don’t seem to have gained major traction with consumers quite yet, but some companies continue to release new hardware in hopes of catching the public’s interest. Today Fitbit did just that.

The Fitbit Versa is a new smartwatch with a focus on fitness, which shouldn’t come as a surprise with Fitbit’s history in wearable devices. The Versa boasts features like continuous heart rate tracking, automatic activity and sleep tracking, and more than 15 exercise modes. There are also on-screen personal workouts from the Fitbit Coach feature, support for using your smartphone’s GPS, and swim tracking with water resistance up to 50 meters.

The Versa can also help you with other aspects of your life. Move reminders will help you to stay active throughout your day and the Guided Breathing Session will give you moments throughout the day to relax and focus on your breathing. Fitbit is also launching its new female health tracking with the Versa, which lets you log periods, track your cycle, and gauge ovulation.

Fitbit Versa on wrist

Fitbit has also baked some more smartwatch-y features into the Versa. There are notifications for calls, calendar alerts, texts, and apps, and quick replies to messages for Android are coming soon. You can download your music onto the Versa or sync Pandora stations, and you can use Fitbit Pay to make payments with your watch (only in special edition). There are also apps from companies like Starbucks, AccuWeather, Yelp, Nest, and Flipboard.

When it comes to hardware features, the Fitbit Versa has a color touchscreen, optical heart rate monitor, ambient light sensor, vibration motor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a battery that’s rate to last 4 days.

The Fitbit Versa is compatible with devices running Android 4.3 or higher, Windows 10 devices, iPhone 4S and later, and iPad (3rd gen.) and later.

Fitbit is now taking pre-orders for the Versa ahead of its April launch. Pricing starts at $ 199.95 for a black, gray, or rose gold aluminum case. The Fitbit Versa Special Edition will include Fitbit Pay and will be priced at $ 229.95.

Fitbit Ace

Fitbit today also introduced the Fitbit Ace, a wearable for children. The Ace has activity and sleep tracking, reminders to move, and motivations to help kids be active at least 60 minutes per day. The band is adjustable and the whole device is showerproof to help protect it from splashes and spills. Fitbit says the Ace’s battery will last up to 5 days on a single charge.

The Fitbit Ace is now available for pre-order at a price of $ 99.95. It’ll ship in late May.

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Fitbit Highlights Versatility in New $200 Smartwatch

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Fitbit on Tuesday added a new smartwatch to its wearables line with a pricetag of $ 199.95. The Fitbit Versa, which will reach global retail outlets in next month, will be the lightest metal smartwatch in the U.S. market. It includes a new dashboard that simplifies the way health and fitness data is accessed on the device. Versa mixes health and fitness programs, such as 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts and automatic sleep-stage tracking, with smart features like quick replies on Android and on-device music.
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New Fitbit Versa takes aim at Apple Watch

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Fitbit is stepping up to compete better with the Apple Watch with the Versa smartwatch. The new wearable looks similar to Apple’s watch, and offers music playback and other capabilities. Plus, it arrives at a lower price point — just under $200. The Versa’s unveiling comes just after Apple surpassed Fitbit in the wearables market. […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

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Fitbit Versa Fitness Smartwatch announced in India for Rs. 19999

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After the leak, Fitbit has officially introduced Versa, its latest Fitness smartwatch with a  modern, intuitive design. It is one of the lightest metal smartwatches and comes with a new dashboard with easy access to health and fitness data with Fitbit OS 2.0. It has 24/7 heart rate tracking, onscreen workouts, and automatic sleep stages tracking and also offers wallet-free payments on Fitbit Versa Special Edition. It promises 4+ days battery life. Fitbit OS 2.0 offers Stats at a glance: See your daily and weekly health and fitness stats, historical activity, heart rate, and exercise summaries, action-oriented motivational messages, tips and tricks, and daily guidance – all on your wrist. More personalized over time: Reminders, celebrations, logging, insights, sleep summaries and social challenges, with prompts to take actions based on your data, coming later in 2018. It has also announced new female health tracking to help women track their menstrual cycle, view holistic health data in one place. It will be available for Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic, and to Fitbit app users starting in Spring 2018. Fitbit Versa features and specifications 1.34-inch Touchscreen Color LCD display with up to 1,000 nits brightness Supports iPhone (4S and later) and Android (4.3 and later) Water resistant to 50 …
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