Fitbit

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Fitbit Inc.
TypePrivate startup
IndustryConsumer electronics
FoundedSan Francisco, California, United States (October 2007 (2007-10))[1]
Founder(s)James Park
Eric Friedman
HeadquartersSan Francisco, CA, USA
Area servedUSA
Key peopleJames Park, CEO
Eric Friedman, CTO
ProductsFitbit Tracker
Websitewww.fitbit.com
 
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Fitbit Inc.
TypePrivate startup
IndustryConsumer electronics
FoundedSan Francisco, California, United States (October 2007 (2007-10))[1]
Founder(s)James Park
Eric Friedman
HeadquartersSan Francisco, CA, USA
Area servedUSA
Key peopleJames Park, CEO
Eric Friedman, CTO
ProductsFitbit Tracker
Websitewww.fitbit.com

Fitbit Inc. is a company headquartered in San Francisco, California, United States. Founded and managed by James Park and Eric Friedman, the company is known for its products of the same name, which are activity trackers, wireless-enabled wearable devices that measure data such as the number of steps walked, quality of sleep, and other personal metrics. The first of these was the Fitbit Tracker. The average price of a Fitbit is between $60 and $130, depending on the model.[2] However, data cannot be downloaded off the Fitbit website unless one pays the premium membership price of $49 per year. Intraday data analysis cannot be downloaded at all.[3]

Fitbit Tracker[edit]

Fitbit Ultra activity tracker in teal, worn with blue jeans

The Fitbit Tracker uses a three-dimensional accelerometer, similar to that in the Wii Remote, to sense user movement. The Tracker measures steps taken, and combines it with user data to calculate distance walked, calories burned, floors climbed, and activity duration and intensity. It uses an OLED display to display this and other information such as the battery level. It also measures sleep quality[clarification needed]: how long it takes the wearer to fall asleep, how often they wake up over the course of the night, and how long they are actually asleep.

A wireless base station is included to receive data from the Tracker and also charge its battery. When connected to a computer the base station will upload data to the Fitbit. From the website, a number of features are possible: seeing an overview of physical activity, setting and tracking goals, keeping food and activity logs, and interacting with friends. Use of the website is free.

Development history[edit]

Fitbit Classic[edit]

The product was announced on September 9, 2008[4] at TechCrunch50 during the "Mobile" session. Fitbit received positive reactions during its panel from experts like Rafe Needleman, Tim O'Reilly, and Evan Williams who cited its wearability, price point, and lack of subscription fees.

The Fitbit Classic tracked only steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned, activity intensity, and sleep. It was designed to be a small black and teal device that could be clipped discreetly onto clothing and worn 24/7.

Fitbit Ultra[edit]

A new hardware upgrade was announced on October 3, 2011,[5] called the Fitbit Ultra. The new features included:

Fitbit One[edit]

Announced on September 17, 2012, the Fitbit One is an update to the Fitbit Ultra that uses a more vivid digital display, has a separate clip and a separate charging cable and wireless sync dongle.[6] The Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip were the first wireless activity trackers to sync using Bluetooth 4.0 or Bluetooth SMART technology. The wireless syncing is currently available on newer Apple and Samsung devices such as the iPhone 4S and higher, iPad 3rd generation, iPod touch 5th generation,[7] Samsung Galaxy Note II, and Samsung Galaxy SIII.

Fitbit Zip[edit]

A white Fitbit Zip, showing the distance in miles covered by the wearer

Announced on September 17, 2012, the Fitbit Zip is roughly the size of a quarter and tracks only steps taken, distance travelled, and calories burned. Compared to the other Fitbit trackers, the Zip is the first Fitbit product to include a disposable battery. It also has a lower price point than other Fitbit trackers. Similar to the Fitbit One, it is able to sync its data wirelessly to supported mobile devices, such as the iPhone 4S and higher, the 3rd generation iPad,the 5th generation iPod Touch 5th,[8] the Samsung Galaxy Note II, and the Samsung Galaxy SIII.

Fitbit Flex[edit]

In May 2013, Fitbit released the Fitbit Flex, which is a device that one wears on the wrist. It tracks movement 24 hours a day, including sleep patterns. It has a simple display of 5 LED lights and has almost all the same sync functions as the Fitbit One and Zip. Compared to the One, the altimeter has been removed. The Flex is also the first water-resistant tracker; it can be worn while showering and swimming.

Fitbit Force[edit]

This is the latest device from fitbit that was announced on October 10, 2013. It has an OLED display[9] showing time and number of steps taken. It also tracks number of stairs climbed. On January 13, 2014 it was reported that an unconfirmed number of FitBit customers who have purchased the Force have complained about skin irritation after wearing the Force for extended periods of time. The company announced that consumers who experienced any skin irritation would be given a full refund or offered a replacement device.

Fitbit Aria[edit]

In April 2012,[10] Fitbit released a "Wi-Fi Smart Scale" called the Fitbit Aria. It measures weight, body mass index (BMI) and percentage of body fat of the user. It can keep track of 8 individual users and updates information to fitbit.com automatically via WI-FI network.[11] The information is also updated to the mobile apps.

Fitbit Mobile Apps[edit]

In October 2011, just a few weeks after the launch of the Fitbit Ultra, Fitbit launched a native app for the iPhone.[12] In March 2012 Fitbit launched a native app for the Android (currently available in the US, Canada, and the UK).[12] The apps could sync between itself and a user’s account on Fitbit.com to update information. Users could log their food, activities, water intake, and weight, as well as track their fitness goals throughout the day even while offline. On February 12, 2013, Fitbit released Beta Sync for Android that would allow wireless syncing from any Fitbit device to a limited number of Android devices. The previous version of the Android app could only read the dashboard from the main website in a mobile format.

Fitbit Website[edit]

Fitbit offers a free website that can be used with or without the Fitbit Tracker. Users have the ability to log their food, activities, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose levels to track over time. Users also have the ability to set daily and weekly goals for themselves for steps, calories burned and consumed, and distance walked.

App Gallery[edit]

Fitbit.com dashboard also has the ability for users to connect existing applications from other providers such as Loseit, Myfitnesspal and many others to have cumulative data collection in one location for a more complete personal health report.

Food Plan[edit]

Fitbit allows users to set a food plan for themselves on the website or the mobile app based on a weight goal. The food plan tool has four different intensity settings users can choose from, and gives a range of calorie consumption to aim for each day. This number updates dynamically with any activities logged on the Fitbit website or synced with the Fitbit Tracker. It also gives a projected date for reaching the weight goal which updates as the user logs their weight.

Badges[edit]

On August 9, 2011, Fitbit launched badges for various step and distance milestones. Step badges could be earned based on how many steps a user took in a single day, while lifetime distance badges gave users a badge based on how much distance they’ve logged since they started using the Fitbit Tracker. With the launch of Fitbit Ultra, they came out with new Ultra-only badges that can be earned for floor climbing, and launched new step and distance badges that anyone could earn.

Reception[edit]

Awards[edit]

Fitbit has won numerous awards, including runner-up at TechCrunch50 in 2008[13] and CES 2009 Innovation honoree and best in the Health & Wellness category.[14]

Criticism pertaining to privacy[edit]

Starting in June 2011, Fitbit was criticized for its website's default activity sharing settings, which made users' manually entered physical activities available for public viewing.[15] All users had the option to make their physical activity information private, but some users were unaware that the information was public by default. One specific issue which technology blogs made fun of was that some users were including details about their sex lives in their daily exercise logs, and this information was by default publicly available.[16] Fitbit responded to criticism by making all such data private by default and requesting that search engines remove indexed user profile pages from their databases.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]