Fitbit stock falls after reviews for Ionic smartwatch
By Max A. Cherney
While not everyone dismissed the new watch, many reviewers said it was not an Apple Watch killer
Shares of Fitbit Inc. closed down nearly 5% Tuesday after a swath of reviews of its new Ionic smartwatch, many of which said it likely could not compete with Apple Inc.'s new watch.
Announced in August (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fitbit-introduces-300-smartwatch-in-challenge-to-apple-2017-08-28), the long-awaited smartwatch was aimed to be a challenger to Apple's (AAPL) line of watches, including a new cellular-connected smartwatch detailed this month (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-watch-finally-lives-up-to-dick-tracys-standards-so-maybe-it-will-live-up-to-expectations-2017-09-12). Priced at $299, the Ionic is $30 cheaper than Apple's new Series 3 model without cellular, and $100 cheaper than the connected version. Long known for its fitness-focused devices, Fitbit (FIT) has high hopes for the new Ionic, betting that certain features would help propel it to a must-have gadget.
See also: Apple and Fitbit expected to boost sales of smartwatches and other wearable tech (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-and-fitbit-expected-to-boost-sales-of-smartwatches-and-other-wearable-tech-2017-09-14)
Over the past year, Fitbit has struggled financially and investors have pushed the stock down 14.6%. The S&P 500 index has gained 10.5% in the same period. Analysts have also seen the new smartwatch as the catalyst the San Francisco-based company needs to turn itself around.
One of the key features analysts expect to help propel smartwatches is uncoupling the device from a smartphone (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-apple-could-make-smartwatches-more-popular-and-potentially-help-fitbit-2017-08-22). Apple's new Series 3 does that via its cellular option, and Fitbit has given the Ionic some unconnected functionality like its stand-alone payment option and Pandora(P) -based music playback.
Don't Miss: Apple Watch will cost an extra $10 a month for cellular connection (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-apple-watch-will-cost-an-extra-10-a-month-for-cellular-connection-2017-09-12)