Despite selected models being available in the country since earlier this year, Fitbit has officially announced its arrival in Malaysia – and it’s brought along its entire range of fitness and activity trackers.
From its humble beginnings in 2007, where the idea of a fitness tracker was born from Fitbit’s two co-founders playing with the first Nintendo Wii and its WiiMote filled with tracking sensors, Fitbit has surged ahead as the undisputed pioneers in the fitness wearables category, with the Fitbit Flex one of the stars of CES 2013.
Since then, the company has gone on to greater heights, catering to its core market of urban dwellers leading hectic lifestyles. With more and more Malaysians leading a lifestyle with long work hours and little active time – not to mention our glorious food – it appears Fitbit is confident in establishing itself in Malaysia.
In fact, the company’s strategy for entering Malaysia was rather interesting. Some of its products were made available since the end of 2014 in selected physical retailers, but without an official presence from the company. It finally announcing its arrival here over six months later. Interestingly, Fitbit states that this was done as it felt Malaysia’s wearable market was not yet ready.
Despite the risk that other competitors were able to make headway into the Malaysian market, Fitbit justifies this move simply by Google’s search trends for South Asia gathered from this year: of all search terms related to wearables, a staggering 81% of them searched for Fitbit.
What this meant was that the increased number of players in the wearables industry was actually giving more exposure to Fitbit – and due to its experience of being in the scene for much longer, more consumers are choosing Fitbit.
It helps, too, that Fitbits wearables are some of the few in the market that offers compatibility for the three major mobile platforms: iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Internal product research shows that its wearables are compatible with 150 mobile devices, including older devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 4S. Its closest competitor is only compatible with 30.
Another key factor behind Fitbit’s success is in the ecosystem. While it’s quite an achievement to sell over 20 million products worldwide, it’s another to create and sustain a community of Fitbit users that’s centred on fitness and activity goals. The Fitbit dashboard accessible via mobile app and the Web offers a comprehensive look at the user’s fitness history, giving valuable insights such as steps history, resting/active heart rate and calories burnt. Social elements built into the ecosystem also adds a competitive edge to further motivate users to achieve their fitness goals.
Finally, Fitbit’s very impressive ace up its sleeve is a technology called Fitbit Multi Device. The company is aware that a portion of its customers own and use more than one Fitbit device for different activities. What Fitbit Multi Device offers is the ability to sync up to 5 Fitbit devices, including your smartphone. Each Fitbit product intelligently senses when you’ve switched devices (for example, from a Surge in the gym to a Charge HR for daily activities), and data is automatically synced in your Fitbit dashboard. If you accidentally left your Fitbit at home, the Fitbit app will then substitute as an activity tracker. Hence, your activity is accurately tracked even if you wear different Fitbit products throughout the day.
For the Malaysian market, Fitbit is bringing its entire range of products. This is yet another strategy from the company, which believes that fitness trackers are not a “one size fits all” option – consumers need choice, from features, style, colours and size. There’s a Fitbit for every fitness enthusiast, as well as one for every price point.
The flagship Fitbit product available here is the Surge – it’s not a smartwatch, but a “super watch” that’s targeted at advanced fitness enthusiasts. There’s built-in GPS, multiple sport modes to record various activities from running to even cardio workouts, a total of eight sensors, backlit LCD touchscreen, and up to seven days of battery life. Also standard is Fitbit’s proprietary PurePluse continuous heart rate tracking technology, which tracks your heart rate continuously, resulting in more accurate results.
Fitbit also wasted no time in bringing in its other new product, the Charge HR. Available in two sizes, the Charge HR tracks your steps, heart rate (with PurePulse) and calories burned. It also has Caller ID and automatic sleep detection with silent alarm. Despite its rather slim profile, the Charge HR features an OLED display and has a battery life of up to five days.
The lower end version of the Charge HR, the Charge, features the same set of features as the Charge HR, but without the PurePulse technology.
Besides that, the Fitbit Flex is also made available here. The original Fitbit device that brought about its success, the Flex is a stylish wristband that tracks your daily activities and sleep patterns. It also lets you know how much calories has been burnt, and has a five-day battery life.
There’s also the two clip-based trackers, the Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip. The One also measures steps and sleep and other metrics that the Flex measures, but offers between 10-14 days of battery life. The Zip, on the other hand, measures the same but offers an astounding six months of battery life.
Finally, there’s the Aria WiFi Smart Scale. Stepping on this scale lets you know your weight, BMI and body fat percentage, and logs the information on to the Fitbit dashboard. Over time, users will have an excellent overview of their fitness and weight goals.
Each of the Fitbit products mentioned here are now available at all major retailers in Malaysia, including Radioshack, All IT Hypermrket, Harvey Norman, A One Plus, iStore and online retailer Superbuy. The retail prices and available options are as below:
- Fitbit Surge: RM968, available in Black, Blue and Tangerine. Comes in two sizes: Small and Large.
- Fitbit Charge HR: RM620, available in Black, Plum, Blue and Tangerine. Comes in two sizes: Small and Large.
- Fitbit Charge: RM510, availabnle in Black, Blue, Burgundy and Slate. Comes in two sizes: Small and Large.
- Fitbit Flex: RM408, available in 10 colours (Black, Slate, Navy, Red, Tangerine, Teal, Violet, Blue, Lime & Pink).
- Fitbit One: RM408, available in Black and Burgundy.
- Fitbit Zip: RM250, available in Charcoal, Magenta, Blue and Lime.
- Fitbit Aria: RM525, available in Black and White.
For more information, check out Fitbit’s official website.