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Fitbit fights to stay relevant with new entry into smartwatch market

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Fitbit just unveiled three new products — including its first pair of wireless headphones

The competitive market for smartwatches has a new entry with Fitbit announcing on Monday its latest device, the Fitbit Ionic, which is the first smartwatch that Fitbit has developed that will run third-party applications. The new smartwatch also includes Global Positioning System, heart rate tracking, water resistance, battery that will last more than 4 days, on board music, Fitbit Pay, and multiple clock faces.

The smartwatch is the company's first device to include a sensor that can estimate blood oxygen levels, called a relative SpO2 sensor. The App Gallery will have Strava, Accuweather, Flipboard and more, and Fitbit will open SDK for third-party developers in September. Fitbit is taking pre-orders for the Ionic with the base model starting at $299.99. A special Adidas edition will arrive next year. The headphones will go on sale in October alongside the Ionic.

Read our Which Fitbit is Best roundup, which we will update further when we have had hands-on testing time with the new Ionic.

With a almost 165-foot (50 meter) water-proofing, the Fitbit Ionic is a flawless tool for swimmers.

The Fitbit Ionic will be available in three colour variants - Charocal & Smoke Gray, Slate Blue & Burnt Orange, and Blue Gray & Silver Gray.

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Fitbit is already known for its fitness trackers and smart scales, but the company is adding a new product to its lineup: Fitbit Flyer, a $130 pair of sweatproof headphones created to complement the Ionic. Unlike other heart rate sensors that use light and its reflections to measure your pulse, this is a new technology that we are yet to test, but it comes with a big promise. Like Apple's system, Flyer pairs instantly with Ionic, and their sweatproof and rainproof IP67 rating, passive noise isolation, and six-hour battery life should make them an attractive option for Fitbit fans.

The fitness-minded consumer electronics company dipped its toes in the smartwatch waters with the Fitbit Blaze in early 2016 but that wasn't really a "true" smartwatch. The standard straps and sport straps are fastened with a buckle and a pin at the end of the strap that is secured into one of the remaining holes, while the leather straps also have a buckle fastening but the strap goes through a loop like a standard watch strap for a smarter look.

The deep sleep insights that Fitbit introduced with the Alta HR are in the Ionic, too, so you won't have to take the watch off at night. Since going public two years ago to much fanfare, the novelty of its wrist-worn devices has waned with investors. 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.

However, Fitbit is also giving the gadget a bit of extra functionality, adding contactless payments to its list of abilities. Fitbit says that American Express, Mastercard, and Visa cards from banks in 10 different markets will be supported in the coming months, with more to come.

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