The Fitbit Craze
How, in only 10 year’s time, has Fitbit become a household name? Even if you are not interested in tracking your every step, you have to appreciate what these tiny gadgets do. The Fitbit wearable devices were the first of their kind to hit the market. Their popularity earned the attention of the big guys, namely Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple as these massive companies jumped on board with their own versions of wearable activity tracking devices. Fitbit, however, has remained true to its brand and its customers, holding the top spot for fitness wearables.
This is a true feat. Not many startups can compete with the global enterprises who seek to consume them and their market share. Here are a few staggering statistics about Fitbit:
- Number of Fitbit active users - 23.2 million
- Fitbit’s share of the wearable tech market - 34.2%
- Fitbit’s 2016 revenue - $2.17 billion
- Number of Fitbits sold in 2016 - 22.3 million
- Number of retail stores that carry Fitbits - 45,000
- Number of countries where Fitbits are sold - more than 50
With numbers like these, it’s safe to say that Fitbit isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What Does Fitbit Do?
Fitbit continues to release new products and upgrades. Currently, they offer multiple wristbands and clips, watches, and a scale. Each have different designs and capabilities and all are connected to an app where users can track certain personal metrics. Steps are, as they say, “just the beginning.” They aren’t kidding. Activity, exercise, food, hydration, weight, heart rate, sleep and GPS location are also trackable using the device.
Why do people want to know so much about their daily life and habits? Because, according to Fitbit, when you understand your body and how each step towards fitness impacts your overall health, you stay motivated and reach health goals faster. The company believes when users can see their progress, they are more likely to stick to their goals and have fun doing it. They want to encourage people to be active - not just for an hour in the gym but throughout the entire day.
Users can wear their device and use the app that is synced to their mobile phone to do things such as track and archive their workouts, running pace, time and distance while controlling their music. They can log in workouts and keep track of them in a calendar. Fitbit will record sleep and enable users to set goals and reminders. It will send gentle reminders via mobile push notifications to keep users motivated to reach their goals. When they do, they earn badges. Users can connect with friends and family to make their activity a bit competitive. They can even link to Facebook and email to join teams, send encouraging messages and keep each other accountable.
But wait! That’s not all! Because nutrition and hydration are equally important in our overall health, Fitbit includes tools to track weight, log food and calorie intake, set goals and measure hydration. All the stats are available 24/7 from the app dashboard.
Fitbit Compatible Apps
Even with all of the innovation and pioneering in the wearable device industry, Fitbit understands it can’t do everything, nor does it want to. It realized early on that these connected devices were just the catalyst. By providing an open API to developers, the Fitbit has nearly limitless possibilities. When Fitbit is integrated with other devices and apps, anything can happen.
Fitbit is currently accessible on more than 200 phones, including Android, iOS and Windows, a claim no other tracker can boast. They have dozens of compatible apps so users can track virtually anything from their Fitbit. Fitness trackers are helping people learn more about their bodies, their environment and how their activities contribute to their overall health.
What are the coolest apps that integrate with Fitbit?
Most are of the fitness genre - those with personalized training, and those that sync metrics from specific workouts automatically to the user’s Fitbit account. No matter what sport or activity the user is into, there’s likely an app for that. These sport-specific apps are helpful, particularly when the Fitbit may struggle to accurately track movement. Cycling and yoga for instance, may not generate enough arm movement to reflect actual exertion. Using a connected app, however, enables users to log in their activity or use body metrics, such as heart rate, to influence the numbers.
There are plenty of wellness apps that focus on nutrition, diet, hydration and weight loss. These apps enable users to log in meals and monitor their nutritional intake down to the micronutrients. Users can see the calories burned versus the calories ingested and receive recommendations and meal ideas. They also integrate with smart water bottles to track fluid intake so users can chart their hydration and receive push notifications as to when they should be hydrating - all based off of their personal body metrics, exercise regimen and climate.
Games and Rewards Apps
And where there is technology, you have to know someone will figure out how to make a game out of it. There are Fitbit apps that offer games and rewards, and cognitive exercises. Some of these apps simply help users connect with friends to engage in competitions, even if everyone doesn’t use a Fitbit. Others sync the Fitbit tracker with a game that turns steps into points and unlock additional game content. Now that virtual reality is a reality, there are apps that offer games and experiences that are powered by movement.
Where Are Connected Devices Headed?
The popularity of Fitbit is due in part to its connectivity to apps and mobile devices. The merger of these technologies gives developers and inventors a new frontier to explore. The sky's the limit when it comes to what the Fitbit can do.
It’s an exciting time for wearable device companies. According to WAREABLE, the biggest changes will come in design. Screen sizes and straps will continue to change, but many devices will begin to look more like high-end watches than the current designs. Fitness trackers aren’t likely to remain on the wrist, either.
Companies are developing other products that embed the same technology into their design. Smart running shoes, smart shirts and smart eye glasses are either already available or will be in a store near you in a matter of months. Consumers will have their choice of how they want to wear and use these devices.
Which Fitness Tracker Is Best?
Fitbit may have introduced the world to wearable fitness trackers, but many companies have followed suit ever since. If you are interested in learning about each device to choose one that’s right for you, there are several websites that offer insights.
PC Magazine has a side-by-side comparison of the most popular fitness devices.
WAREABLE features an article with a review of its favorite trackers.
Consumer Reports provides a fitness tracker buying guide.
TechRadar ranks the top ten fitness trackers, with prices and key features.
CNET presents ratings on design, battery, performance and software for each tracker, plus pricing.
Whichever device you decide to purchase, get the most out of it by syncing it with helpful, informative and fun apps. These apps will bring your tracker to life, so to speak, and keep you motivated to actually use the data to improve your health.
Tags: Fitbit, Fitness Trackers, smart water bottle, wearable technology