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Fitbit Ushers In Ionic Smart Watch With Its Own OS & App Store

Fitbit showed it was ready for a market-share fight with the debut of what it’s calling its first smart watch, the Fitbit Ionic.

Although the company revealed the Blaze watch in 2016, that device is positioned by Fitbit as a fitness watch rather than a smart watch. The Ionic, meanwhile, employs Fitbit’s new proprietary OS and App Gallery app store, enabling consumers to download apps to the watch without requiring an accompanying smartphone app. It’s expected to appeal to fitness buffs who don’t wish to be tethered to their phones during workouts.

Apps available at press time included Pandora, Strava, AccuWeather and Starbucks, among others, and additional apps will launch when the Ionic becomes available in October. An SDK will become available to potential developers in September. 

In terms of hardware, the Ionic features GPS, sleep tracking, blood-oxygen monitoring, personalized training, heart-rate tracking, and water resistance up to 50 meters. It boasts a color touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and 1,000 nits of brightness, as well as contactless payments via Fitbit Pay, 2.5GB of onboard storage for music, Bluetooth and smartphone notifications.

Battery life is listed at four days via a single charge. Continuous use is 10 hours.  

It will be available in October for a $299 suggested retail. Three color combinations will be offered, and an Adidias version with special training programs will also be available next year. Additional bands and accessories will be available, with pricing starting at $29.95.