(Ars Technica) -- Fitbit users: Ever think to yourself, "I wish this thing would just sync wirelessly with my phone and be done with it?" Your wish has now been granted.
Fitbit announced it's offering two new products targeted at a wider range of demographics, both aimed at taking the little pedometer-on-steroids to the next level. In particular, the new Fitbit One not only adds some extra lifestyle features on top of the previous Fitbit, it also gains the ability to sync with computers and (some) mobile devices over Bluetooth 4.0, without the need to use a connector.
The aforementioned Fitbit One largely boasts many of the same features as the old Fitbit -- it can track your steps in a day like a pedometer, track the number of floors you have climbed on the stairs, and even track your sleep cycles (useful for people like me who sleep poorly and want to see their sleep data). But now, the Fitbit One can also slowly wake you up from sleep. It has a "silent alarm" that vibrates in order to gently wake you up, similar to some other sleep gadgets already on the market. The idea is that you will feel more well-rested when woken up slowly as opposed to being jarred awake by an alarm clock, and there's the added benefit that the vibrations on your Fitbit won't wake up any sleeping mates who might be nearby.
More importantly, the Fitbit One now has Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities and can be used to sync directly with certain smartphones. According to the company, Fitbit One can sync its data with the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S and the third-generation iPad. Compatibility with "certain Android smartphones" is coming soon. The mobile apps for iOS and Android have also been updated to show activity charts and leaderboards, just like the Fitbit website. Fitbit One is the same price as the old Fitbit at $99.95.
The second new product appears to be geared toward a more generalized demographic. For $59.95, the Fitbit Zip is more like a "Fitbit Lite" -- it tracks your steps and distance, but not floors or sleep cycles, and it doesn't have the ability to wake you up. It does, however, also have Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities and can wirelessly sync with the same mobile devices as the Fitbit One, so you can use the data with the Fitbit apps or website immediately. Unlike the Fitbit One (or even the old Fitbit), Fitbit Zip does not have a rechargeable battery. The company says it has a four-to-six month battery life and can easily be replaced when needed.
I've been a Fitbit user since January, but a fan of fitness gadgets for much longer. As I wrote in April, the Fitbit in particular has actually gotten me out of the house more often than anything I had used in the past -- largely because it showed me how little I actually walked in a day (which any pedometer would do), and the website rankings with friends. I'm a competitive person, so when I see that everyone else has average daily steps far ahead of mine, I feel like I should walk around more to bump my average up.
And there are a lot of Fitbit users out there, so it seems as if Fitbit might currently be the fitness gadget du jour among the fairly young and tech-friendly crowd. Many of my friends and family are on the Fitbit website, allowing me to see their own progress and compete against them in steps and floors climbed. (Thank goodness my home has multiple floors and that my office is on a different floor from where the caffeine resides. Otherwise, I would be completely screwed on that metric).
The Fitbit Zip is available starting Tuesday, while the Fitbit One is available in mid-October. Sounds like it's about time to drop your old Fitbit into a toilet and "accidentally" flush, right?
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