The battle of the smartwatches is going strong at the CES 2016, and big brands such as Apple could be gaining another competitor: Fitbit.
The San Francisco company has unveiled the Fitbit Blaze at the event, revealing a wearable tech that's simpler than the usual devices today. That means it only has a few features to offer compared with the others.
However, not everyone agrees with the direction that Fitbit is taking, where its stock fell by more than 18 percent after the announcement at CES 2016. Apparently, investors aren't too happy about the company's decision to essentially go against Android and watchOS wearable techs.
"Judging from the initial stock reaction, we suspect investors are concerned 1) with the ability to battle Apple and others in smart watches; and 2) the lack of updates for Charge and Charge HR, the flagship products," William Power, analyst at R.W. Baird, says.
While Fitbit is the front-runner of the fitness tracker market, observers are unsure if the company can jump into the fray of more capable smartwatches.
"When you compare Fitbit to companies like Apple and Google it doesn't have the software talent to offer a fully-fledged mobile operating system. But at this price point it's pretty good value and is a natural next step for the firm," Daniel Matte, a Canalys analyst says.
Meanwhile, Fitbit CEO James Park says that the Blaze is still focused on fitness and describes it as a "smart fitness watch," suggesting that the wearable tech isn't exactly out to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Apple.
On that note, how does the Fitbit Blaze stack up against the Apple Watch Sport?
The Fitbit Blaze has a colored touchscreen, where owners will be able to change the bands to suit their personal styles.
As mentioned earlier, it can only deliver limited features, but it does provide the current standards, including calendar syncing, music, text notifications and the option to answer and decline calls. It's compatible with Android, iOS and Windows smartphones.
In an effort to stay on top in terms of fitness, the Blaze offers PurePulse heart rate monitoring and the SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition. On the downside, the "Connected GPS" label means that owners will have to carry their handsets around to get accurate readings, where the two devices are paired via Bluetooth.
It is also said to be capable of lasting roughly five days on one charge, which is probably the only advantage it has in the competition. More to the point, it can record sleeping times, which is something that the Apple Watch cannot do.
Fitbit will roll out the Blaze in March 2016 with a price tag of $199.
Despite the respectable offerings of the smart fitness watch, a lot of people still have doubts about whether it can perform well on the market.
"We believe the price point may prove to be too high for a device that will not offer access to third-party apps, unlike other smartwatches," Angelo Zino, an analyst of S&P Capital IQ, says, hinting that it would be better for Fitbit to bank on the wellness aspect instead of trying to take its wearable tech up a notch.
Apple Watch Sport
The Apple Watch Sport offers all the standard smartwatch features, where it also provides Siri and Apple Pay. That means owners can just use their voice activate commands and make payments conveniently.
The smartwatch also has Activity and Workout App to assist owners in achieving their fitness goals. Also, it comes in a 38-mm variant and a 42-mm one, providing more options for customers. The device is made out of anodized aluminum, which the Cupertino brand touts as 60 percent sturdier than the standard aluminum but weighs the same.
To boil things down, it delivers everything that a user would expect from a wearable tech today.
The Apple Watch Sport is priced at $349 and $399 for the 38-mm and 42-mm models respectively.
While it's fair to say that the Apple Watch Sport has the upper hand over the Fitbit Blaze in this comparison, the latter still has plenty to offer.
A 5-day battery life could get Fitbit a lot of customers, though, not to mention that a more fitness-centric approach helps in that department too. However, if that's the case, perhaps the Surge would be a better pick.
In other words, the Blaze is somewhere in between a smartwatch and a fitness band, where it doesn't really have a place to go to.