Struggling Fitbit faces production woes, delays upcoming smartwatch

The brand you associate most with health and fitness products is likely Fitbit. Because of its hardware and software working seamlessly together, people have selected Fitbit as their all-in-one hub for analyzing data about their bodies. But it hasn’t actually been a smooth road traveled for the company in recent years. Its 2016 products, namely the Blaze, weren’t been bold enough. And the stock price has plummeted as competitors surpass what Fitbit is capable of.

In 2017, Fitbit is expected to turn around and be successful once again. That looks to be a massive challenge as two of its upcoming wearables have reportedly been delayed to the fall.

Fitbit’s next devices, according to Yahoo Finance, have been delayed because of issues with production. Two people familiar with Fitbit’s situation revealed that the company is developing a smartwatch and a set of wireless earbuds. Those same informants included the reasons why the delay has occurred.

One of the people said Fitbit couldn’t get the GPS in the smartwatch to work properly. The entire product had to get redesigned due to the antenna’s placement. Also, the previous design was problematic for durability. Fitbit couldn’t figure out how to make it fully waterproof. While the company is committed to resolving the GPS issue, Fitbit is apparently going to release this smartwatch even if it can’t achieve full waterproof-ness.

Another person told Yahoo Finance that the smartwatch is “definitely not sexy.” This has been a problem for Fitbit in the past. It just can’t seem to create attractive hardware that doesn’t automatically make people think it’s an activity tracker.

The Bluetooth earbuds, meanwhile, are similar to Apple’s Beats X.

The original plan was to launch and release them in the spring; however, the delay moves all dates to the final quarters of the year. It’s not a favorable time of year, by the way, since Apple and other competitors are practically locked in to introduce new wearables of their own. Despite the brand’s recognition among its base, Apple is going to appeal to more casual consumers. Even Google’s Android Wear partners would get better consideration with smartwatches.

After hitting a high of $47.60 in July 2015, Fitbit’s stock price currently stands below $6. Fitbit desperately needs a successful product now more than ever.

Source: Yahoo Finance

About the Author: Justin Herrick

Born and raised in New Jersey, Justin is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University where he studied marketing with a focus on digital marketing. He's very talkative and enjoys discussing anything from technology and sports to video games and television. As for Justin's current device rotation, he carries around the Google Pixel and Nexus 9. In the rare case that his phone or tablet is not in his hand, he is either flicking through cards on his Moto 360 (2015) or typing away on the Microsoft Surface Book. Justin is patiently waiting for the day that Google replicates the Galaxy Nexus with modern day specifications.

  • Darkcobalt

    Fitbit is an interesting story because at the beginning they had a good lead when smartwatches were not particularly desired by people yet. As a simple fitness tracker that was inobtrusive it just made sense.

    But graduating to a smart watch while competing with Apple and Android devices is tough. I just don’t see the value. Apple will lock in the premium and fashion market while Android devices will get the commodity market and Garmin wins the GPS oriented crowd. Meanwhile the basic concept of tracking steps, sleep and even heartrate testing are being done on phones. Does that leave Fitbit a similar future to Nokia and Blackberry?

    Personally I would buy a fitbit product that got back to its roots (eg very small, lightweight and waterproof tracker I could wear and forget) but I am not sure if anyone else would care. Such a device would serve mostly as an accessory for Apple or Android devices. Other avenues in that vein include licensing to integrate with footwear and sports apparel. Focus on accuracy, speed, battery life, and storage. Phone pedometers are not accurate in my experience.