FITBIT HAS SNEAKED out a new fitness tracker, but it's not one you'll be able to buy for yourself. Instead, this is reserved for the lucky/micromanaged few whose magnanimous/creepy bosses feel like inviting/forcing them to wear one.
On the official site, the Fitbit Inspire looks an awful lot like the Fitbit Charge series, although that's at least in part down to the fact that there's actually only a handful of ways a wearable can look right now. That means you're looking at an elongated monochrome brain in a rubber band, but the company says it can be worn as a clip to be hidden under clothing like the old Fitbit One (which if anything proved a little too discrete when it invariably ended its life in a 40-degree hot cycle).
While many health insurance providers give out Apple Watches as a way of improving (and tracking) customer lifestyle, the Fitbit Inspire is considerably more bare bones. The basic version simply tracks steps and delivers basic phone notifications, while a more advanced version - the Inspire HR - adds heart-rate monitoring and exercise modes to the mix, along with the option to piggyback off phone GPS for accurate run tracking. Both are swimproof.
How much it costs is a mystery, but that's most likely because it'll vary from deal to deal depending on how many employees need one and - let's be honest - the turnover of the company in question. What we do know is that it's the company's cheapest device yet, which either raises alarm bells around build quality or more troubling questions about previous models' markups. Take your pick as to which.
More tellingly, it points to something quite interesting about Fitbit's business model: that it can't just rely on selling direct to consumers any more. While that worked well in the beginning, it's struggling to compete with both the Apple Watch at the high end and a huge number of cheap Chinese fitness trackers as the budget end. The company will be hoping that putting Fitbit Inspires on business customers' wrists will help plug that sales gap. µ
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