Leak suggests new Fitbit Surge smartwatch will best Apple Watch by integrating GPS

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2014
Newly leaked marketing materials suggest Fitbit may be on the verge of releasing a new fitness-focused smartwatch with a heart rate sensor as well as integrated GPS, the latter of which the upcoming Apple Watch will not feature without tethering to an iPhone.




Details on the Fitbit Surge, which the materials refer to as a "Fitness Superwatch," were first revealed in pictures obtained by The Verge. Most notably, the Surge is shown to have built-in GPS location support -- a feature that the upcoming Apple Watch will not have.

Some have decried the fact that the first-generation Apple Watch will require being tethered to an iPhone for precise location data. While the Apple Watch will track steps and general activity on its own, runners, bikers and other athletes interested in tracking their pace and distance will need to also carry an iPhone with them for GPS data.

The leaked materials claim that the Fitbit Surge will provide athletes with stats on distance, pace, floors climbed, heart rate intensity, active minutes, and calories burned.

Like the Apple Watch, the Fitbit Surge also features a heart rate monitor the company has branded "PurePulse." The materials show that the feature will provide "continuous, automatic wrist-based heart rate monitoring."

The Fitbit Surge is also advertised to offer smart notifications, allowing users to view call and text notifications from their wrist. Like other smartwatches already on the market, the Fitbit Surge is also shown to allow music control from the wrist-worn device.

But that's where the similarities with Apple Watch likely end, as the new Fitbit appears to be a fitness focused device. The materials appear to show a plain black-and-white display controlled by physical buttons, likely without touchscreen input or any third-party app support.

The materials make no mention of battery life uptime, but say that the Fitbit Surge is "designed for all-day wear." It's shown to feature wireless syncing of fitness data, and to come in watch face colors of black, slate and tangerine.




The latest leak is joined by two other models that appeared online last week: a simpler wrist-worn device called the Fitbit Charge, and a version with heart rate monitoring, but lacking GPS, dubbed the Charge HR.

Leaked marketing materials for both the Charge and Charge HR show the devices tracking steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes. They'll also offer basic wrist notifications, displaying statistics, time and caller ID from a connected device like an iPhone. The Charge HR will also track a user's heart rate all day, providing feedback for better calorie tracking and cardiovascular training.




Leaks from Fitbit's anticipated fall product lineup come as the company will reportedly lose its shelf space at Apple's retail stores. It was reported last week that Apple plans to stop selling Fitbit devices at its stores in the near future, just as Apple plans to get into the fitness tracking market next year with the launch of the Apple Watch.

Fitbit also said on its official community forums earlier this month that it does not currently have any plans to integrate with HealthKit, Apple's developer tools for health and fitness related data. Fitbit said it has been "evaluating integration with HealthKit" since it was announced, but noted that Apple's solution and the accompanying Health app only work on the iPhone platform.

"Your voices are being heard," the company said, noting that it could change course if there is enough demand from users. "We're actively reviewing your responses and providing feedback to our product development team."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    I'm confused, can you use the apple watch idependently and not use Gps or the internet? Or does it have to to joined or It won't work?
  • Reply 2 of 64

    “best”

  • Reply 3 of 64
    adonissmuadonissmu Posts: 1,776member

    So are people going to need a data plan for a watch now? That's weird. 

  • Reply 4 of 64
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 3,096member
    Meh. I suppose this could work for some people. Keep it under $100, and they might sell some. Racing to the bottom of pricing isn't Apple's strategy, and I'm sure they're happy to abandon this to others.

    I'm a cyclist, and my iPhone is part of my safety gear. Don't think you can call 911 or AAA (or find a mapped route) on this fitbit.

    It's not an Apple Watch competitor any more than a landline phone competes with a iPhone.
  • Reply 5 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I'm glad to see the Surge has a decent looking strap. I loved using my Fitbit Force but that band, despite attempting to be vigilant in putting it on properly eventually fell off after a few months.

    therealtom wrote: »
    I'm confused, can you use the apple watch idependently and not use Gps or the internet? Or does it have to to joined or It won't work?

    You can use ?Watch indepentedly, like if you're going for a run you can use it as a clock, certain apps, and for music playback wirelessly. However, it's designed to be paired with an iPhone and will need to be paired in order to get the maximum, intended benefit as well as sync.

    eightzero wrote: »
    Meh. I suppose this could work for some people. Keep it under $100, and they might sell some. Racing to the bottom of pricing isn't Apple's strategy, and I'm sure they're happy to abandon this to others.

    Judging by the same, features, and new HW I'm guessing around $200 for this new Fitbit Surge.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sog35 wrote: »
    Do people actually run/bike without their phone?

    I do whatever I can to exercise with my gadgets (even have an underwater case and headphones for my iPod Shuffle) but I do know plenty of people that enjoy being disconnected when they exercise.
  • Reply 7 of 64
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,056member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    Do people actually run/bike without their phone?

     

    RIP Fitbit

    RIP

     

    They are trying to compete against Apple head on...Good luck


    No, it doesn't. It's a cheap sh.t device vs Apple Watch.

  • Reply 8 of 64
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,056member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I do whatever I can to exercise with my gadgets (even have an underwater case and headphones for my iPod Shuffle) but I do know plenty of people that enjoy being disconnected when they exercise.

    What about Sexercise? lol

  • Reply 9 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    fallenjt wrote: »
    What about Sexercise? lol

    That's what Google Glasses is for.


    [VIDEO]



    PS: Remember Google Glass?
  • Reply 10 of 64
    The issue these companies aren't addressing is that I don't want to wear something like that to work. All these activity trackers only look good when you're dressed down in sweats or weekend attire. The Apple watch gives me the option of dressing up or down with it allowing me to track my activity everywhere I go.
  • Reply 11 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by eightzero View Post



    Meh. I suppose this could work for some people. Keep it under $100, and they might sell some. Racing to the bottom of pricing isn't Apple's strategy, and I'm sure they're happy to abandon this to others.



    I'm a cyclist, and my iPhone is part of my safety gear. Don't think you can call 911 or AAA (or find a mapped route) on this fitbit.



    It's not an Apple Watch competitor any more than a landline phone competes with a iPhone.



    Likewise, I cycle and run always have my phone with me. However, I can't run more than about eight miles with my phone's GPS enabled before I'm about out of battery. More than 40-50 miles on my bike is out-of-the-question. A dedicated GPS device helps solve the problem of a dead phone battery (which renders it useless for safety).

     

    If you look at most high-end GPS fitness watches, they generally run anywhere from $300-500. I doubt this will be much less; certainly it will be more than $100. I don't see it as a direct competitor to the Apple Watch. Apple Watch is a device you wear all-day as you would with any other watch. A dedicated sport watch is meant to be worn as an accessory during a fitness activity.

  • Reply 12 of 64

    First Fitbit declares they will not be updating their software to integrate with HealthKit, now they announce a partial competitor to the Apple Watch?

     

    They're going to join Bose pretty soon as being suddenly no longer offered at Apple Stores...

  • Reply 13 of 64
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I do whatever I can to exercise with my gadgets (even have an underwater case and headphones for my iPod Shuffle) but I do know plenty of people that enjoy being disconnected when they exercise.



    I go to the gym 4 - 5 times a week and frankly, it's downright embarrassing to see how many folks at the gym are literally connected to the hip with their phones or with full-blown iPads.  They will do one set of weights, take a 20-minute "break" without ever leaving their workout bench, do another set in 30 seconds, rinse and repeat.  It's like they don't even take a moment to think that other people might be waiting to use that same equipment.



    I don't bring any gadget into the workout room.  It's distracting to me.  I can "maybe" understand taking it on a treadmill for 30-minutes, especially since one can stream whatever music/video they want... but when using it in the weight room?  Come-on.



    It irks the hell out of me when I see people so sucked-into their gadgets, that they tune out everything else around them to such a degree that it's really a shame to see.  They threw manners and courtesy out the door.



    You know who you are... turn the damn things off, get your workout done, and move on... and don't give me a BS about how "important" that you just can't miss that one emergency phone call from a client or family member.  That has nothing to do when I see you engorged in Facebook during your 20-minute "rest" between sets.

  • Reply 14 of 64
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member

    Garmin with their Forerunner series have had heart rate and GPS in their watches for years.

    Why the Apple Watch doesn't have GPS built-in probably has more to do with forcing you to buy an accompanying iPhone, than any technological  problems.

  • Reply 15 of 64
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,106member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

     

    Garmin with their Forerunner series have had heart rate and GPS in their watches for years.

    Why the Apple Watch doesn't have GPS built-in probably has more to do with forcing you to buy an accompanying iPhone, than any technological  problems.




    I think it has to do more with battery life than trying to get you to buy an accompanying iPhone.  Fitbit can probably get away with it because of their minimalist and more energy-efficient display.  Put a GPS on the Apple Watch, and coupled with that display it will suck the battery dry in a few hours.



    I think the reality is that most people will always carry their phone no matter what anyways.  So it's kind of a moot point really.

  • Reply 16 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

     

    So are people going to need a data plan for a watch now? That's weird. 




    GPS does not require a data connection, only visibility to GPS satellites. 

  • Reply 17 of 64
    ibeamibeam Posts: 322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

     

    Garmin with their Forerunner series have had heart rate and GPS in their watches for years.

    Why the Apple Watch doesn't have GPS built-in probably has more to do with forcing you to buy an accompanying iPhone, than any technological  problems.


    Perhaps to conserve battery life. I think they are positioning ?Watch as an iPhone accessory with the target market of people who already have an iPhone and probably the latest model in the largest capacity and upgrade every year and never go anywhere without it. Why have redundant GPS?

  • Reply 18 of 64
    Originally Posted by MazeCookie View Post

    GPS does not require a data connection, only visibility to GPS satellites. 

     

    Great, so the little dot that tells me where I am is accurate, but there’s no map so I don’t know where the dot is.

  • Reply 19 of 64
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    sflocal wrote: »
    I go to the gym 4 - 5 times a week and frankly, it's downright embarrassing to see how many folks at the gym are literally connected to the hip with their phones or with full-blown iPads.  They will do one set of weights, take a 20-minute "break" without ever leaving their workout bench, do another set in 30 seconds, rinse and repeat.  It's like they don't even take a moment to think that other people might be waiting to use that same equipment.

    I don't bring any gadget into the workout room.  It's distracting to me.  I can "maybe" understand taking it on a treadmill for 30-minutes, especially since one can stream whatever music/video they want... but when using it in the weight room?  Come-on.

    It irks the hell out of me when I see people so sucked-into their gadgets, that they tune out everything else around them to such a degree that it's really a shame to see.  They threw manners and courtesy out the door.

    You know who you are... turn the damn things off, get your workout done, and move on... and don't give me a BS about how "important" that you just can't miss that one emergency phone call from a client or family member.  That has nothing to do when I see you engorged in Facebook during your 20-minute "rest" between sets.

    I have no excuse of import, I just prefer to listen to upbeat music whilst lifting weights and oft listening to an audiobook, podcast, or some other form of spoken word when jogging, either on the street (which I dislike) or on the treadmill (which I dislike even more).

    With ?Watch you may see a drop off in iPhones being used, but they will still be using their headphones and a gadget for exercise. I don't think that will ever change.
  • Reply 20 of 64
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    Great, so the little dot that tells me where I am is accurate, but there’s no map so I don’t know where the dot is.


    The dot is where you are, why would you need a map.

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