HEALTH AND fitness aficionados in the country who are on the lookout for more smartwatch capabilities to accompany their journeys have another one to consider as Fitbit recently launched locally a new version of the Fitbit Ionic.

Building on its health and fitness expertise that has allowed it to become the leading global wearables brand, Fitbit has stepped up its game with the Ionic that features innovations which company officials said could provide new dimensions to the needs of those who want to go deeper in the “health performance space.”

Equipped with a new relative SpO2 sensor, the Ionic makes it possible to track deeper health metrics, including estimating blood oxygen levels.

This is on top of its extensive and industry-leading GPS and improved heart rate tracking which one can use while running and doing gym work, as well as on-device dynamic workouts that adapt to each user’s needs.

It is also water resistant to 50 meters.

Other features include on-board music, smart notifications, and a variety of popular apps and clock faces, something company officials said they would add to as the year progresses.

The Ionic also boasts of Fitbit staples like long battery life (five days), automatic activity and sleep tracking, and cross-platform compatibility.

Design-wise, the Fitbit Ionic makes use of new processes and materials that improve weight, fit, durability, breathability, and daily wear, resulting in an extremely lightweight, ergonomic design which makes it comfortable to wear all day long.

In the formal launch of the Ionic last week, Louis Lye, Fitbit regional lead for Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, said they are expecting the Ionic to do well in the country considering the Philippines has been a good market for their products.

“We first launched in the country in November of 2015, so it has been a journey of two and a half years for us. And I would say we have been doing well here as we have seen a year-on-year growth of 36%. It shows that we have products that are relevant to the market,” said Mr. Lye in an interview with BusinessWorld at the sidelines of the Ionic launch.

“It’s our first smart watch and we believe it’s a game-changer with the many new features that have been put in it. People who are entering the performance space and those who are already in it can you use the Ionic. If they want to check everything and they want to have all those fitness trackers, this has it and more,” he added.

Mr. Lye went on to say that among the new features they are pushing to introduce in the country via the Ionic is Fitbit Pay, which would allow for effortless payment for items through one’s device wherever contactless payments are accepted.

Expansion of its roster of apps is also planned which would also involve local developers.

“Fitbit Pay is one thing we are pushing for here and we have to sit down with Philippine banks for that and increase our level of partnership. We have yet to initiate any talks but we are planning to soon. We also want to engage Filipino developers for other apps to be featured on the Ionic,” Mr. Lye said.

The Fitbic Ionic is now available at major retailers across the Philippines, including Digital Walker and Beyond the Box stores, for P15,690.

It is available in three color combinations: a silver gray tracker and clasp with a blue-gray band, a smoke gray tracker and clasp with a charcoal band, and a burnt orange tracker and clasp with a slate blue band.

Also to be made available soon are Fitbit’s wireless headphones, the Fitbit Flyer, and the Fitbit Aria 2 Wi-Fi Smart Scale, which will be sold for P6,790 and P7,690, respectively. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo