Garmin Dashes Into Fitness Band Market With Vivofit
Can the company best known for its GPS systems make a splash in the smartwatch market?
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Garmin has had its hand in the wearable tech market for years now, particularly with its Forerunner line of GPS-enabled exercise watches and bike computers.
Now the company is expanding into the ever-tightening fitness band space. At CES on Monday, Garmin unveiled its vívofit—a sleek personal exercise assistant that strives to nudge you in the direction of a healthier lifestyle. According to Garmin, it is the only one on the market that automatically greets users with personalized daily goals, tracks that progress, and then enhances exercise regimens over time. For further integration, the vívofit monitors sleep patterns, providing data that can help users improve their overall physical health.
“Garmin has been providing fitness monitoring devices for over a decade, and with vívofit we say hello to the fitness band that knows your potential,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of worldwide sales, in a statement. “Being able to monitor the quality of rest after retiring for the night, being challenged by personalized daily goals and doing so without having to charge it every few days, makes vívofit a fitness band that should be on everyone’s wrist.”
Basically, the vívofit is a step and sleep monitor. It lets you know how many steps you’ve taken, the distance you’ve traveled, how many calories you’ve burned, and, of course, the time of day. But unlike the popular Fitbit band, which requires users to sync data to their mobile devices for analysis, vívofit data can be viewed on the band itself. Users also have the option of syncing data to Garmin’s online fitness community, Connect.
At $129.99, the vívofit is meant to compete directly with the Fitbit Force ($129.95), which offers similar functionality, albeit with mobile synchronization. It will be interesting to see how devices like this merge with the already robust smartwatch market.
Check back all week for more on fitness bands, smartwatches, and other wearable tech at this year’s CES.