Fitbit's New Ionic Smartwatch Is Here

Meet Ionic, Fitbit's First Smartwatch and Last Chance to Beat Apple

As Fitbit's first smartwatch designed fully in-house, Ionic features new processes and materials that improve weight, fit, durability, breathability and daily wear - resulting in an extremely lightweight, ergonomic design comfortable enough to wear all day and night. This wasn't a secret. Today, the company has diversified its offering by launching its first ever smartwatch and wireless headphone. The device also features a relative SpO2 sensor that measures blood oxygen levels and could be used to identify sleep apnea in the future.

The Fitbit Ionic manages to fit-no pun intended-a Global Positioning System sensor, a heart rate sensor, a "multi-day battery" rated at more than four days, a Near Field Communications (NFC) chip for contactless payments, enough storage for music (plus Pandora support and Bluetooth headphone support), and water resistance into a device that's not much thicker than conventional wristwear.

Mastercard is integrating contactless payment functionalities into Fitbit's first smartwatch, Ionic.

The device may also beat the Apple Watch for battery life, boasting more than four days worth of power, Fitbit claims.

The company also says, "Ionic runs on Fitbit OS, the company's new operating system for smartwatches that will be regularly updated to add new user experiences".

So, who's making the Fitbit Ionic and Flyer headphones their newest devices? This includes the launch of the Fitbit App Gallery, where you can select the apps and clock faces that appeal to you so you're always armed with the information you want most, in a way that reflects your own personal needs and style.

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Like the Apple Watch with Apple Pay, Fitbit Iconic can also replace your wallet with support for contactless payments. That means you can load credit or debit cards to the Fitbit app and then use the Ionic to pay at any store with an NFC reader, no phone required. Ionic is priced at $299.95 and is now up for pre-ordering via Fitbit's website, shipping is expected to starts in 3 to 4 weeks. The watch will be available online, and will be at stores like Best Buy, Target, and Dick's Sporting Goods starting in October.

Fitbit signalled its intention to move into payments previous year when it bought the wearable assets of Coin, helping it move beyond its core fitness tracking service. Three color combinations will be offered, and an Adidias version with special training programs will also be available next year.

The most valued addition to the Ionic is the Fitbit Pay. That is why it was frustrating that Fitbit did not produce a more robust wearable - an actual smartwatch. They're equipped with Bluetooth, and Fitbit says they are sweat-proof and water resistant. Also on board (though not available at launch) will be audio coaching with more than 40 indoor and outdoor running and walking workout sessions complete with audible cues and encouragement while you exercise.

Together, these two features - Fitbit Pay and dedicated music support - will, according to Fitbit, will allow users to leave their smartphones at home when they go for a workout.

Fitbit Flyer pair with Ionic in an instant.

You can also easily replace the bands on the Fitbit Ionic and make it just a little less ugly. I've been wearing them, and the quality is fine - pretty much on par with the competition.

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