Smartwatches don't seem to be gaining the cultural cachet that Google was hoping they would, but cheaper and more basic fitness monitors continue to do well even among the non-techy crowd. Just ask Fitbit, which is apparently flush enough to buy Pebble lock, stock, and barrel. The company's latest minimalist fitness tracker is the Alta HR, announced today and heading to retailers in April for $149.95. The Alta HR is an upgraded version of the current Alta, which adds a full-time heart rate sensor to the basic design.
Fitbit would really like you to know that the Alta HR is "the world’s slimmest wrist-based, continuous heart rate tracking device," a claim that seems to have a lot of qualifiers slipped in there. The design uses Fitbit's standard bracelet layout with a simple LED screen integrated into a water-resistant strap with swappable fitness and fashion-oriented bands. The Alta HR includes tracking for walking, a host of exercise styles, basic call and text notifications from your connected smartphone, and of course syncing and backup to the Fitbit app and fitness tracker services. In addition to continuous heart rate tracking, the HR has a new focus on sleep tracking with the Sleep Insight system, which recommends adjustments to your workouts based on your sleep and vice versa.
In addition to the standard model, the Alta HR will come in "Special Edition" variants with either black-on-gunmetal or pink-on-rose gold coloring for $180. Standard fitness bands will be $30, more elaborate leather bands will be $60, and the wrist watch-style metal bracelet will set you back a full $100.
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fitbit (NYSE:FIT), the leader in the connected health and fitness market, today introduced Fitbit Alta HR™ and new advances in sleep tracking, giving you actionable insights and guidance in the Fitbit® app to make more informed decisions about your health and stay motivated to reach your wellness goals in style.
- Fitbit Alta HR is the world’s slimmest wrist-based, continuous heart rate tracking device combining the benefits of PurePulse® heart rate technology, automatic exercise recognition, sleep tracking, battery life of up to seven days and smart notifications in a slim, versatile design that is easily customized to fit your style. Alta HR is available today for presale, with retail availability in April.
- Sleep Stages utilizes heart rate variability to estimate the amount of time you spend in light, deep and REM sleep, as well as time awake each night, to better understand your sleep quality.
- Sleep Insights uses the whole of your Fitbit data to provide personalized guidance on how to improve your sleep for better overall health.
“Alta HR and these powerful new sleep features demonstrate our continued focus on evolving our innovative technology to deliver deeper, more actionable insights to help our users improve their health,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “The miniaturization of our PurePulse heart rate technology opens up exciting opportunities for future generations of devices and new form factors. Our advances in sleep will provide millions of users around the globe accessibility to invaluable insights that previously could be obtained only through expensive lab tests.”
Heart Rate and Style in a Sleek Design
Fitbit was able to bring PurePulse, the feature requested most by Fitbit Alta™ users, to Alta HR by developing a one-of-a-kind chip that reduced the size and number of components needed, achieving a 25% slimmer design than Fitbit Charge 2™. The result is a stylish device that offers all-day, continuous heart rate tracking, making it easier for you to make more informed decisions about your health:
- Better measure calorie burn all day, including during non-step based exercise like yoga and spinning, to help you stay on track toward your health and weight goals by tracking calories in versus burned.
- See real-time heart zones on your wrist and exercise summaries in the Fitbit app to work out at the right intensity for your health and fitness goals.
- View resting heart rate on-device and trends in the Fitbit app, and compare it to your activity to see how consistent exercise can improve your heart health over time.i A decrease in resting heart rate is a key indicator of cardiovascular health; changes up or down may indicate illness or other issues.ii
Smart, Insightful, Automatic Sleep Tracking to Help You Sleep Better
Fitbit is also introducing two dynamic sleep tools – Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights – that provide deeper insight into your sleep quality and guidance on how to improve, building on its popular sleep features that have empowered millions of people to track their sleep since 2012. Along with diet and exercise, sleep is a key factor in overall health, but most people have very little insight into it. Good sleep plays a critical role in your health and overall wellbeing, from protecting against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, to boosting neurocognitive functions, mental health and longevity.iiiSleep Stages, powered by PurePulse, uses accelerometer data and heart rate variability (the changes in time between beats), plus Fitbit’s proven algorithms to more accurately estimate how long you spend in light, deep and REM sleep stages, as well as time awake, each night:
- Light Sleep (including sleep stages N1 and N2) occurs throughout the night and is important for memory, learning and letting your body recover from the day; for most people that’s 50-60% of your night.iv
- Deep Sleep (sleep stage N3) promotes a healthy immune system and muscle growth and repair; for most people that’s 10-25% of your night (depending on your age).v
- REM Sleep is when most dreaming occurs and is important for mental recovery and memory formation; for most people that’s 20-25% of your night.vi Most REM sleep comes at the end of the night, and is often the stage to be cut short when your sleep duration decreases.
- Awake periods (between 10-30 times) are a normal part of your sleep cycle each night.vii
Everyone’s sleep cycle is different, but by better knowing your sleep quality and patterns, and realizing the impact they have on your day, you can make lifestyle changes that can help improve your sleep over time – such as diet, exercise, winding down before bed and keeping a consistent sleep schedule. For example, if you wake up feeling exhausted each morning, despite seemingly getting enough sleep, you may not be getting sufficient deep sleep.
Tracking sleep patterns could also help identify variations that can be indicative of other issues. For example, it has been shown that irregularities in sleep patterns could be a sign of a sleep condition that should be discussed with a doctor.viii
“From helping maintain a healthy immune system, to preserving your cognitive functions and managing a healthy weight, your sleep – or lack of – plays a critical role,” said Dr. Allison Siebern, Stanford University and Fitbit Advisory Panel Sleep Expert. “Fitbit’s new sleep features use a scientific-based approach to show your sleep patterns over time, and provide you with validated, actionable guidance to help you make changes in your daily routine to achieve greater quality sleep – and in turn improve your overall health. Given the comfort and accessibility of this product, it’s one of the most valuable and useful sleep tracking solutions available to consumers outside of a sleep lab.”
Developed with Fitbit’s panel of sleep experts over the last two years, Sleep Stages makes information previously only accessible through a sleep lab accessible to millions of consumers, while Sleep Insights offers personalized guidance to help improve your sleep. The panel brings a wealth of academic expertise across a variety of sleep-related areas, including health, chronic disease and insomnia:
- Dr. Michael Grandner, director, Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona;
- Dr. Allison Siebern, consulting assistant professor, Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center, and director, Sleep Health Integrative Program at Fayetteville VA Medical Center; and
- Dr. Michael T. Smith, Jr., professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Nursing, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Fitbit conducted rigorous testing of the ability of its devices, including Alta HR, to estimate sleep stages in adults. These results validating Fitbit's new Sleep Stages feature have been accepted for presentation at SLEEP 2017, the leading meeting for sleep scientists and clinicians.
Sleep Insights – using Fitbit data gained from over 3 billion nights of logged sleep,ix which is equivalent to 2.5 million years, Fitbit is uniquely positioned to deliver powerful sleep insights that provide actionable guidance and coaching to help you improve the quality of your sleep and, in turn, your overall health. Some examples include:
- Understand the connections between your sleep, exercise, diet, weight and heart rate:
- “There seems to be a strong correlation between your sleep and your runs. The last 10 weeknight logs show that you had 20 mins more restful sleep on days you ran vs. days you didn’t.”
- “A lack of sleep can increase your hunger hormones. So if you’re looking to lose weight, make sure you’re logging enough ZZZs.”x
- Receive personalized guidance and insights based on your Fitbit data to help you stick to an ideal schedule and get the best sleep quality:
- “You slept an average of 9hrs 30min this weekend, which is substantially higher than your weekday sleep duration of 5hrs 40min. That swing may be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep during the week.”
- “Great job going to bed at a consistent time during the week. Being consistent means going to bed within a 30-minute time window every day of the week. People with a consistent bedtime like yourself get up to 40 minutes more sleep per night than those with low sleep consistency.”
Stay Motivated, On Track and Connected
In addition to the advanced health and fitness tracking experience PurePulse brings to Alta HR, popular features and notifications keep you connected and motivated to reach your goals:
- All day, automatic tracking of your most important stats (heart rate, steps, distance, calorie burn, active minutes) day and night, powered by battery life of up to seven days.xi
- SmartTrack™ automatic exercise tracking records activities like walking, running, cycling, elliptical, sports and aerobic workouts in the Fitbit app, giving you credit toward your weekly exercise goals.
- Reminders to Move help you stay active throughout the day, and reducing sedentary time can play a significant role in the prevention of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.xii
- Call, text and calendar notifications keep you connected so you can focus on your day.xiii
- Connect with one of the largest social fitness networks in the world through the new Community tab in the Fitbit app to find support and inspiration on your path to better health and fitness.
“For me, a big part of staying healthy and active is understanding how the things I do every day – like hiking with my dogs, hitting a dance class and how well I sleep – impact my overall health and fitness goals,” said Julianne Hough, Fitbit Ambassador, actress and dancer. “I love that Alta HR is so stylish, I can wear it with any outfit no matter what I’m doing so I stay motivated and on track.”
Reflect Your Personal Style
Whether you’re going to a workout or a night out, the slim design and distinctive Alta HR tracker will give you the information you need while transforming to fit your look with a variety of accessories that fit Alta and Alta HR devices.xiv
- Classic trackers with black, blue gray, fuchsia or coral classic fitness wristbands and matching aluminum buckle.
- Special Edition trackers in soft pink classic band with 22k rose gold plated tracker and black classic band with matte gunmetal tracker.
- Luxe leather collection in brown, indigo and lavender with matching buckle.
- Luxe stainless steel bracelet that can stack with your other jewelry.xv
- Designer collections from PUBLIC SCHOOL, Simply Vera Vera Wang and soon from Tory Burch.xvi
Pricing & Availability
Alta HR is available for presale today on Fitbit.com for $149.95. In early April 2017, Alta HR will be available online and in stores worldwide, including major North American retailers such as Amazon.com, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Target, REI and Verizon.
- Special Edition Alta HR, $179.95.
- Classic fitness bands, $29.95; Luxe Leather bands, $59.95; and Luxe Metal Bracelet, $99.95.xvii
Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights will be available globally in Spring 2017:
- Sleep Stages will work with Alta HR, Blaze and Charge 2 devices via the Fitbit app on Android, iOS and Windows, and on Fitbit.com in the online dashboard.
- Sleep Insights will be available with all Fitbit devices that track sleep via the Fitbit app.