According to sources who spoke to Re/code, Apple (News - Alert) is planning to discontinue selling FitBit devices in its stores within a few months. These devices will be replaced by wearable devices Apple is currently developing. The news comes at a time when a shakeup in the wearable fitness device market seems imminent.
San Francisco-based FitBit offers several different wireless devices that track various fitness and health metrics. FitBit Flex, a device worn like a wristwatch, is probably the company’s most showcased product. It has an accelerometer to detect movement and can track the number of steps taken, calories burned, active minutes and hours of sleep.
It can also measure the distance traveled and quality of sleep. All data collected by the Flex can be synced through a wireless connection to mobile and online apps that track activity. FitBit also offers a Wi-Fi scale known as the Aria (News - Alert) that tracks weight, BMI and body fat percentage. It uploads data wirelessly just as the Flex does.
According to an NPD Group study cited by Re/code, FitBit was far and away the leading seller of fitness devices in the 12-month period ending March 31, 2014, with 70 percent market share.
It may well be that FitBit is off to a fast start in a race where other participants will soon catch up. Apple is promoting the Health app and HealthKit platform that stores fitness data. Strava, iHealth, MyFitnessPal and other fitness app vendors said they will allow users to export data to HealthKit.
So far FitBit has not committed to supporting HealthKit, although it is asking users for feedback on possible future integration with the platform. Its competition is currently from other fitness devices like the Jawbone Up24, Fitbug Orb, Basis B1 Band and Moov. Other competition comes from smartwatches like the Samsung (News - Alert) Gear Fit and Apple Watch.
Whether from dedicated fitness devices, smartwatches or both, FitBit will definitely face stiffer competition this year than it did the year before. The company is at a crossroads and faces an important decision: should it support HealthKit or go proprietary? Choosing wisely will be critical to its future.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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