Fitbit Ace is a fitness tracker for kids
Fitbit is targeting a new kind of customer, one that probably isn’t even old enough to have a gym membership.
The new Fitbit Ace is a fitness tracker meant for children eight and older. Since kids aren’t likely to be setting fitness goals and checking out line graphs of their progress, the real customer is the parent, who may have an interest in using a wearable to better measure their kids’ health.
There are plenty of statistics to give them reason to be concerned. Recent federal data shows the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. went up from 14 percent to 18.5 percent over the last 20 years. Worldwide, the rate of obesity has tripled since 1975, according to the World Health Organization.
Of course, in marketing the Ace, Fitbit is looking to sell more trackers, but it appears to be handling the move in a responsible way: Kid accounts must be tied to an adult-created family account, and the child has limited access to the data, if any. Obviously, if the child doesn’t have a smartphone, they won’t see it at all (apart from the step count on the device itself), and kids with their own phones will only have a limited view.
What kids will see are reminders to move, encouraging them to get at least 250 steps an hour (you’ll be able to set a schedule so it the “nudges” don’t happen when the child is in school). They’ll get rewards in the form of badges for reaching step goals, and they’ll even be able to challenge family members to contests with a future update. That’s the end of the social interactions, though — kids won’t have access to the greater Fitbit community.
The hardware is essentially a revamped Fitbit Alta. I handled a nonworking model at Fitbit’s announcement event, and it’s definitely kid size. It doesn’t have a ton of sensors — step counting, sleep tracking, and keeping track of “active minutes” are the main functions — and it lacks a heart-rate monitor or GPS (i.e. if you want to track your kid’s location, this isn’t the tracker you want).
Battery life is rated at an impressive 5+ days, and Fitbit says it’s splash-proof enough to take in the shower.
Compatible with Android and iOS devices, the Fitbit Ace will ship in the spring with a $99.95 price tag.