Fitbit may be about to launch new fitness bands after being forced to recall last year's flagship wearable.
The new activity tracker will be called Fitbit Charge, according to leaked documents published by Gizmodo. It'll reportedly have a wider band than the existing Fitbit Flex, with a larger display that shows the time, fitness stats and caller ID.
In other words, it sounds a lot like the Fitbit Force, which was recalled in February after users complained of skin rashes from the stainless steel band's nickel element. The Force never returned to market, making the Charge a de facto replacement.
Why this matters: While rivals like Nike are shifting away from the hardware business, Fitbit is staying defiant. The company has resisted integrating with Apple's Health app, and has not brought its tracking services to other smartwatches such as Pebble and Android Wear. The new fitness bands are a sign that Fitbit isn't backing down from controlling its own hardware and services, which at least makes Fitbit worth watching as fitness trackers race toward commodity status.
More accuracy, less irritation
Aside from the wider band with more capable display, the Fitbit Charge is reportedly similar to the Flex. It tracks steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned, active minutes, time slept and quality of sleep. It's water resistant and has a silent alarm to wake you up in the morning.
Fitbit may also sell a premium version called the Charge HR, with a round-the-clock heart rate monitor, Gizmodo reports. This feature may be called "PurePulse" and would allow for more accurate calorie counting, cardio training and a constant readout of your pulse.
There's no word on pricing or a release date for either fitness band, but a launch is likely imminent given the extent of the leak. With Fitbit currently charging $100 for the Flex, expect the Charge to stay on the high end of the fitness tracking market.
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