Fitbit

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Fitbit Inc.
Public
Traded as NYSEFIT
Industry Consumer electronics
Founded San Francisco, California, United States (October 2007 (2007-10))[1]
Founders James Park
Eric Friedman
Headquarters San Francisco, California, United States
Area served
International
Key people
James Park (CEO)
Eric Friedman (CTO)
Products Fitbit Tracker
Website www.fitbit.com

Fitbit Inc. is an American company known for its products of the same name, which are activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable technology devices that measure data such as the number of steps walked, heart rate, quality of sleep, steps climbed, and other personal metrics. The first of these was the Fitbit Tracker.

The company, founded and managed by James Park and Eric Friedman, is headquartered in San Francisco, California. On May 7, 2015, Fitbit announced it had filed for IPO with a NYSE listing.[2] The IPO was filed for $358 million.[3] The company's stock began trading with the symbol "FIT"[4] on June 18, 2015.[5]

Fitbit products[edit]

Fitbit Ultra activity tracker in teal clipped to pocket

Fitbit Tracker[edit]

The Fitbit Tracker uses a three-dimensional accelerometer, similar to that in the Wii Remote, to sense user movement. The Tracker measures steps taken, and combines it with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed and activity duration and intensity. It uses an OLED display to display this and other information such as the battery level. It also measures sleep quality by tracking periods of restlessness, how long it takes the wearer to fall asleep and how long they are actually asleep.[6]

A wireless base station is included to receive data from the Tracker and also charge its battery. When connected to a computer the base station will upload data to the Fitbit website, where a number of features are available: seeing an overview of physical activity, setting and tracking goals, keeping food and activity logs and interacting with friends. Use of the website is free.

The Fitbit Classic tracked only steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, activity intensity and sleep. It was designed to be a small black and teal device that could be clipped discreetly onto clothing and worn 24/7.

At the TechCrunch50 during the "Mobile" session on September 9, 2008,[7] Fitbit received positive reactions during its panel from experts like Rafe Needleman, Tim O'Reilly, and Evan Williams who cited its wearability, price point, and lack of subscription fees.

Fitbit Ultra[edit]

A white Fitbit Zip, showing the distance in miles covered by the wearer

A new hardware upgrade was announced on October 3, 2011,[8] called the Fitbit Ultra. The new features included:

  • an altimeter that measures elevation gain in terms of floors, with one floor roughly equivalent to ten feet.
  • a digital clock visible on the device's display
  • a stopwatch that can be used to time activities
  • randomized "Chatter" messages show when the Ultra is moved after sitting idle for a while, and there's a custom field to write in a personal "Greeting".
  • new colors (plum or blue, as opposed to the original teal)

The Fitbit Ultra is powered by a small lithium polymer battery.[9]

The Fitbit Ultra suffered from a small design flaw: the unit had a permanently curved shape in order to clip directly onto any piece of clothing. The plastic used in the unit was not appropriate for the strain experienced at the looped end, and with time would become brittle, and crack. While most users experienced only minor cracking with no effects to the device's function, in a few cases the cracking led to total failure: mostly the case splitting and screen ceasing to function.[10][11][12]

Fitbit offered replacement or repair of affected units, under warranty.

Fitbit One[edit]

Announced on September 17, 2012, the Fitbit One is an update to the Fitbit Ultra that uses a more vivid digital display, has a separate clip and a separate charging cable and wireless sync dongle.[13] The Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip were the first wireless activity trackers to sync using Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth SMART technology. The wireless syncing is currently available on iOS and Android devices such as the iPhone 4S and higher, iPad 3rd generation, iPod touch 5th generation, Samsung Galaxy Note II and higher, Samsung Galaxy S III and higher, LG G2, HTC One, Moto X, and Nexus 4 or higher.[14] Fitbit One can record several daily activities, including but not limited to, number of steps taken, distance travelled on foot, number of floors climbed, calories burned, vigorously active minutes, sleep efficiency, delicate movements during sleep, number of wake-ups during sleep, etc.

Fitbit Zip[edit]

Announced on September 17, 2012, the Fitbit Zip is roughly the size of a United States quarter and tracks only steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. Compared to the other Fitbit trackers, the Zip is the first Fitbit product to include a disposable battery. It also has a lower price point than other Fitbit trackers. Similar to the Fitbit One, it is able to sync its data wirelessly to supported mobile devices, such as the iPhone 4S and higher, iPad 3rd generation, iPod touch 5th generation, Samsung Galaxy Note II and higher, Samsung Galaxy S III and higher, LG G2, HTC One, Moto X, and Nexus 4 or higher.[14]

Fitbit Flex[edit]

Fitibit Flex with accompanying wristband
Fitbit Flex stand

In May 2013, Fitbit released the Fitbit Flex, which is a device that one wears on the wrist. It tracks movement 24 hours a day, including sleep patterns. It has a simple display of 5 LED lights which indicate the number of steps taken in a day, and it vibrates to indicate that your goal has been reached. The lights also indicate battery level. The Fitbit Flex has almost all the same sync functions as the Fitbit One and Zip. The Flex is also the most water-resistant tracker, though cannot be worn while swimming.[15] The Fitbit Flex includes a specialized USB charger; the battery lasts 5–7 days, and it takes 1–2 hours to charge.

Fitbit Force[edit]

The Fitbit Force was announced on October 10, 2013. It has an OLED display[16] that shows time and daily activity. The Force tracks a number of statistics in real-time, including steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, stairs climbed and active minutes throughout the day. At night, the Force tracks sleep and can wake a user silently with a vibrating alarm.

On January 13, 2014 it was reported that an unconfirmed number of Fitbit customers who have purchased the Force have complained about skin irritation after wearing the Force for extended periods of time.[17] Fitbit stated on its website that the company consulted with medical professionals whose assessments are that these irritations are most likely allergic reactions to nickel, a component of the surgical-grade steel or the adhesives used to assemble the Fitbit Force.[18] Fitbit, working with the Consumer Protection Safety Commission, recalled the Fitbit Force on February 20, 2014.[18] On March 12, 2014 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made the recall official.[19] At that time it was revealed that The Fitbit Force had caused about 9,900 injuries.[19] It is no longer for sale on Fitbit's website.

Fitbit Charge[edit]

Announced in October 2014, the Fitbit Charge is a replacement for the Fitbit Force. It was released in November 2014 for US$130 retail. Unlike the Force, Charge's wrist band is slightly different and textured and can display caller ID information from a connected smartphone through the Fitbit app. The Charge automatically tracks users steps, sleep, flights of stairs (using an altimeter) and an approximation of distance traveled. The Charge tracks steps using a 3 axis accelerometer by tracking forward movement along with slight upwards through movements. Both the Charge and the HR version register each step almost exactly half through the step.[20][21]

Fitbit Charge HR[edit]

Fitbit Charge

Announced in October 2014 and released in early January 2015, the Charge HR is the Charge plus a heart-rate monitor and a calorie counter. With this addition the 7-day battery life is reduced to 5 days. The Charge HR has the same textured band as the Charge and comes in black, plum, blue, tangerine, pink, and teal colors. The Charge HR band clasp resembles that of a traditional watch instead of the snap-on band of the original Charge.[22][23][24]

Fitbit Surge[edit]

Fitbit Surge

Announced in October 2014, the Surge is like a smartwatch as well as an activity tracker and aimed for the fitness demographic. The Surge includes a heart-rate monitor and the ability to track pace, distance, and elevation using the GPS on the device. The Surge also can send alerts of text and incoming calls from a connected smartphone.

Fitbit Aria[edit]

Fitbit Aria

In April 2012,[25] Fitbit released a "Wi-Fi smart scale" called the Fitbit Aria. It recognizes users who are wearing Fitbit trackers and measures weight, body mass index (BMI) and percentage of body fat of the user. It can keep track of eight individual users and updates information to fitbit.com automatically via Wi-Fi network.[26] The information is also updated to the mobile apps.

Fitbit Blaze[edit]

During CES 2016 event,[27] Fitbit announced a new fitness watch that is called "Fitbit Blaze". It is similar to a modern smart-watch, such as Apple Watch, Pebble Smart-watch, and Android Wear watches. The Blaze focused on fitness first, then smart features inside the watch. Unlike the Surge, the Blaze comes with a colored touchscreen, and exchangeable strap and frame. Some functionality from the Surge has been retained, like auto-tracking exercise and heart-rate monitor. Blaze has connected GPS, meaning it can track movements by using the connected smartphone's GPS. The user can receive notifications, including incoming calls, texts and calendar appointments on the Blaze.[28]

In addition, the Fitbit Blaze also integrates with Fitstar, Fitbit's website for customized workouts. These workouts can be displayed on the Blaze's screen. [29]

Fitbit Alta[edit]

The Fitbit Alta[30] has all the features of standard Fitbit wristbands which lacks heart rate monitoring and an altimeter so it does not track flights of stairs. The accessory can be used for tracking exercises and sleep. The wristband offers a full OLED touchsreen that you can tap to see your reminders, a clock and smartphone notifications. The Alta is also able to recognize the type of activity you are doing: running, playing football, or just walking.

Fitbit mobile apps[edit]

In October 2011, just a few weeks after the launch of the Fitbit Ultra, Fitbit launched a native app for the iPhone.[31] In March 2012 Fitbit launched a native app for Android. Users could log their food, activities, water intake and weight, as well as track their fitness goals throughout the day even while offline.

Originally the iOS and Android apps could only retrieve data from the user's Fitbit account, rather than connecting directly to the fitness tracker, but in September 2012 the Fitbit One and Zip were announced with Bluetooth support for syncing directly with phones. When the One and Zip were released, only newer iOS devices were supported,[32] but in February 2013, Fitbit released an update that would allow wireless syncing from Fitbit One and Zip devices to the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II.[33]

Subsequent updates to the Fitbit app began to add support for new devices: an update in May 2013 added support for the Galaxy S4,[34] and on January 6, 2014, Fitbit announced an update to the Android app adding support for many more devices including the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Moto X, HTC One, and LG G2.[35]

The Fitbit app became available for Windows 8 devices in April 2013 and Windows Phone in July 2014. Both these apps have been succeeded by a "universal" app for Windows 10 that works on both PC and mobile devices.

Fitbit Connect for Mac[edit]

Following the release of OS X - El Capitan, numerous users discovered that the Fitbit Connect for Mac no longer recognizes the USB dongle used to connect to their Fitbits. This was reported to Fitbit but as of March 2016 there are no fixes or work arounds. Despite this Fitbit's marketing materials state that their products are compatible with Mac OS X.

Fitbit website[edit]

Fitbit offers a free website that can be used with or without the Fitbit Tracker. Users have the ability to log their food, activities, and weight, to track over time. Users also have the ability to set daily and weekly goals for themselves for steps, calories burned and consumed, and distance walked.

Reception[edit]

Awards[edit]

Fitbit has won numerous awards, including runner-up at TechCrunch50 in 2008[36] and CES 2009 Innovation honoree and best in the Health & Wellness category.[37] Most recently, Fitbit ranked 37 out of the 50 most innovative companies of 2016.[38]

Privacy concerns[edit]

Starting in June 2011, Fitbit was criticized for its website's default activity-sharing settings, which made users' manually-entered physical activities available for public viewing.[39] All users had the option to make their physical activity information private, but some users were unaware that the information was public by default. One specific issue, which technology blogs made fun of, was that some users were including details about their sex lives in their daily exercise logs, and this information was by default publicly available.[40] Fitbit responded to criticism by making all such data private by default and requesting that search engines remove indexed user profile pages from their databases.[39]

Fitbit devices have been used in criminal investigations; in one instance, GPS data was used to invalidate evidence in a rape trial.[41][42][43][44]

Accuracy[edit]

A 2014 study done at Iowa State University tested eight fit band devices including the Fitbit Zip and the Fitbit One. Using a sample of 30 men and 30 women, researchers had participants wear bands during 69-minute workouts that included a series of 13 different activities. Results showed the bands were at best 'reasonably accurate,' with the Fitbit Zip and Fitbit One scoring 10.1% and 10.4% error ratings, respectively.[45]

A 2015 validation study completed by the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University Medical Center tested the accuracy and reliability of Fitbit devices, including the Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex devices. Using a sample of 23 adults (10 males; 13 females), researchers had the participants wear multiple devices on their wrists and hips different walking/running speeds on a treadmill. Results showed that, overall, Fitbit devices worn on the hip accurately measured steps taken within 1 step of 100% accuracy. Devices worn on the wrist, however, were off by an average of 11 steps per minute. When measuring the number of calories burned Fitbit devices worn on the hip underestimated by an average of 6% while devices worn on the wrist overestimated calories burned by 21%. Authors concluded that both the Fitbit One and Fitbit Flex devices reliably measured step counts and energy expenditure, with hip-based Fitbit devices being more accurate than wrist-based devices.[46]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fitbit Company Profile". CrunchBase. TechCrunch. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  2. ^ Hadi, Mohammed (May 7, 2015). "Fitbit Files for IPO, to Seek NYSE Listing". Bloomberg News. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  3. ^ Chris Ciaccia (June 2, 2015). "Fitbit Updates IPO Pricing". TheStreet. 
  4. ^ Jhonsa, Eric (May 7, 2015). "Fitbit files for IPO, reports strong growth/profits". Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ Ananya Bhattacharya (June 18, 2015). "Fitbit stock surges nearly 50%". Retrieved December 20, 2015. 
  6. ^ Ewalt, David M. (June 11, 2010). "Getting Fitbit". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ Greene, Kate (September 10, 2008). "Self Surveillance". Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved September 19, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Fitbit Blog". Fitbit Blog. 
  9. ^ "Fitbit Ultra". takeitapart.com. 
  10. ^ "Fitbit Ultra Repair". www.fatguyshrinking.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  11. ^ "Fitbit! In which I switch from my failing Fitbit Ultra to a Fitbit One, with error messages.". azurelunatic.dreamwidth.org. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  12. ^ "Fitbit One Review". Technically Running. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Mark. "Fitbit's Newest Gadget: 24/7 Fitness Tracking Meets 24/7 App Syncing". Co.Design. Fast Company. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "Fitbit Supported Devices". fitbit.com. 
  15. ^ "Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity & Sleep Wristband – Specifications". Fitbit. Flex has been tested up to 1 ATM meaning it is sweat, rain and splash proof. However, the device is not swim proof. 
  16. ^ "The best activity tracker yet... The Fitbit Force reviewed". 
  17. ^ "Fitbit Apologizes To Customers Who've Experienced Skin Reactions". The Huffington Post. 
  18. ^ a b CEO letter 2/20/14. February 20, 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Fitbit Recalls Force Activity-Tracking Wristband Due to Risk of Skin Irritation". U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 12 March 2014. 
  20. ^ Burns, Matt. October 27, 2014 "Fitbit’s Latest Activity Trackers Feature Heart Monitoring, Smartwatch Functions"
  21. ^ Two Surprises in Fitbit's New Charge Fitness Tracker, CIO.com, November 25, 2014
  22. ^ "Fitbit Charge HR Wireless Heart Rate + Activity Wristband". fitbit.com. 
  23. ^ Burns, Matt. October 27, 2014 "Fitbit’s Latest Activity Trackers Feature Heart Monitoring, Smartwatch Functions" TechCrunch.
  24. ^ "Fitbit Charge HR". 
  25. ^ "Fitbit". Engadget. 
  26. ^ "Fitbit Aria™ Wi-Fi Smart Scale". fitbit.com. 
  27. ^ "Fitbit Blaze from The Verge". The Verge. 
  28. ^ Cipriani, Jason (March 29, 2016). "Getting started with the Fitbit Blaze". CNET.
  29. ^ "Fitbit Blaze Review at Wareable". Wareable. 
  30. ^ "Fitbit Alta". gadgetswizard. 
  31. ^ "Fitbit iPhone App is Now Available!". Fitbit Blog. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  32. ^ Cheng, Jacqui (17 September 2012). "New Fitbits can sync with iPhones, Androids via Bluetooth 4.0". Ars Technica. 
  33. ^ "Fitbit Blog". Fitbit Blog. [dead link]
  34. ^ "Fitbit Blog". Fitbit Blog. [dead link]
  35. ^ "Fitbit Blog". Fitbit Blog. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  37. ^ "CES Innovation Awards". International CES. 
  38. ^ Fast Company. “The Most Innovative Companies of 2016.” February 19, 2016. March 30, 2016.
  39. ^ a b "Fitbit Blog". Fitbit Blog. 
  40. ^ Jack Loftus. "Dear Fitbit Users, Kudos On the 30 Minutes of "Vigorous Sexual Activity" Last Night". Gizmodo. Gawker Media. 
  41. ^ "Police: Woman's fitness watch disproved rape report". ABC27. 19 June 2015. 
  42. ^ "Fitbit data just undermined a woman's rape claim". Fusion. 29 June 2015. 
  43. ^ "When Fitbit Is the Expert Witness". The Atlantic. 19 Nov 2014. 
  44. ^ David Glance (24 Nov 2014). "How your Fitbit data can and will be used against you in a court of law". The Conversation. 
  45. ^ "Does your fitness band really work? Scientists analyse tracking tech". Retrieved 2015-09-10. 
  46. ^ Diaz, Keith M.; Krupka, David J.; Chang, Melinda J.; Peacock, James; Ma, Yao; Goldsmith, Jeff; Schwartz, Joseph E.; Davidson, Karina W. "Fitbit®: An accurate and reliable device for wireless physical activity tracking". International Journal of Cardiology. 185: 138–140. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2015.03.038. PMC 4406840free to read. PMID 25795203. 

External links[edit]