Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:09

Fitbit acquires Vector Watch

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Fitbit, the world’s largest fitness wearable company, has acquired luxury brand smartwatch start-up Vector. This comes shortly after its acquisition of Pebble smartwatches.

Vector was established in 2015 as a luxury, affordable smartwatch with a 30-day battery, and compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. It has launched the Luna and Meridian in several designs.

Vector states all warranties and support will be honoured but there will be no further OS updates and development of apps. Personal information will be guarded by Fitbit.

Vector's Romanian founder Andrei Pitis stated that the company was acquired for its software platform and design team. It is highly likely that this heralds a move by Fitbit to enter the luxury smartwatch space.

"As with our recently announced acquisition of Pebble assets, Vector brings valuable industry expertise that will help accelerate the development of new products, features, and functionality," Fitbit stated.

Interestingly, both Pebble and Vector use e-ink screens and had their own operating systems, APIs, and developer communities. More interesting is that both acquisitions resulted in the end of the product lines.

Wearables, loosely divided into fitness bands and smart watches (with a degree of crossover for each), are not a growing market although the fitness side is doing OK. The more successful (by market share) have been Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 (a full-fat fitness band with many smart features that runs on Android and iOS) and the now discontinued Microsoft Band.

IDC in its Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker showed that fitness bands had 85% market share and were experiencing double-digit growth. In that period, Fitbit grew 11% to ship 5.3 million units, Samsung, largely on the back of the Gear Fit 2, sold a million units (89.9% growth) and Apple declined 71% year-over-year to 1.1 million units (excluding the recent Apple Watch 2 that will show up in Q4).

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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