Fitbit adds feature for reaching wellness goals

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SAN FRANCISCO-BASED wearable technology company Fitbit has introduced a new feature to its slimmest fitness wristband — a heart rate and sleep monitor to guide wearers into “reaching (their) wellness goals in style.”

“The PurePulse technology is the most requested feature by Fitbit Alta users,” said Louise Lye, Fitbit regional lead for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, during the launch on March 27 at Greenbelt 5 in Makati City.

Fitbit adds feature for reaching wellness goals

The new feature “projects light into your skin and we’re looking for reflections back… that’s how we tell your heart rate,” explained Alex Healy, Fitbit head of product marketing in Asia Pacific, during the launch.

“And with it being a narrow device, we have to be much more focused on capturing those reflections,” he added.

The Fitbit Alta HR — the slimmest of the eight Fitbit variants — also incorporates a feature that automatically tracks the stages of sleep.

The sleep tracker utilizes the “heart variability” to estimate the time a person spent in light, deep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, as well as their time awake each night to analyze sleep quality and provide insights on how to “improve your sleep for better overall health,” said a company press release.

The Alta HR, 25% slimmer than the Fitbit Charge 2, lacks the connected GPS tracker of the Charge 2 but retains the regular features such as steps taken, calories burned, etc., as well as alerting the user to incoming messages and calls.

The Alta line (which now includes the Alta HR) is popular among women because of its slimmer build while the Charge 2 is more popular with men.

It was pointed out at the launch that the lack of some features present in other variants — such as the number of floors climbed and GPS tracking — makes the HR more applicable to casual users and not for serious (or semi-serious) runners or health buffs.

Fitbit currently is present in 70 stores in the country, a huge increase compared to one and a half years ago when it was only in 28 stores.

“It was a bit challenging at first to convince retailers that it can change Filipino behavior,” said Mr. Lye.

The Fitbit Alta HR is priced at P8,490 while the special edition is P9,690. It is available at Digital Walker, Beyond the Box, select Toby’s stores, iBook, iCenter, Mobile1, Globe, Gadgets in Style, HiveMind, Lazada, Zalora, Timeline, The Inbox Store, iLiberty and Rnnr stores. — Zsarlene B. Chua