Misfit Shine — not long for this world?

Today saw the announcement that Misfit's activity tracking software was coming to Pebble smartwatches, something that took us by surprise, apparently it's because Misfit's leadership saw the death of dedicated fitness trackers in the tea leaves. All told, wearable fitness trackers are a relatively new category, only a few years old at best. Misfit sells the Shine activity tracker, which relies on a smartphone (or now a Pebble) to sync and display its data.

But in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Misfit CEO Sonny Vu said that the writing is on the wall:

"If you buy one of these [Apple] devices you're not going to buy an activity tracker," [he said], adding that he predicts Android-powered watches will undo the fitness bracelet market. "Why should we cling on to a dying a business?"

Going up against a titan like Apple was always considered dangerous, especially with their anticipated health-monitoring iWatch likely just a few months from debut. Misfit, for their part, has sold more than 300,000 copies of the Shine fitness tracker, and has no immediate plans to stop selling it. But they're going to move more into partnerships for fitness data software in lieu of their own hardware.

Android Wear smartwatches and the iWatch aren't currently available, and yet they're already starting to suck the air out of the fitness tracker space. Do you want to keep wearing a dedicated fitness tracker, or would you prefer a smartwatch that does it all?

Source: The Wall Street Journal

 
There are 23 comments

codeda says:

One thing I like about fitness trackers ( which I don't own) is that they are small. Smart watches need to be a little more woman friendly or at least women with tiny wrists. Here's to hoping!

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Impulses says:

That's a pretty strong point, almost obviously so but something that the industry may still foolishly ignore... It's kinda like phone size, most women I know actually prefer a smaller phone (despite some of them carrying huge purses, which I really don't get but I digress...), but most flagship phones are trending towards larger and larger form factors with few notable exceptions (iPhone, Moto X, etc).

brendilon says:

These were DOA for anyone really serious about fitness anyhow. A serious runner or cyclist laughs at their 'functionality', and gym rats? Gym rats laugh at runners and cyclists, these gimmicky toys fall even farther down the scorn list.

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aitt says:

I know ultra and marathon runners that will disagree

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Not to mention the 10k crowd like I run with most weekends at one race or another...

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Impulses says:

Not sure what you're trying to imply... Yeah a fitness tracker might be of limited functionality for someone hitting the weights at a gym but they're ideally suited for runners and cyclists. Hardly a necessity tho, but they're a decent way of your routine.

That being said, I think it's quite likely smartwatches will obscure dedicated trackers like smartphones obscured dedicated music players. There will still be a market for them though, I would think if I have a particularly nice smartwatch with a leather band or a metal band I wouldn't wanna subject it to buckets and hours of sweat every other day.

I recently bought a Fitbit Zip, basically just using it like a connected pedometer rather than an all day fitness tracking kinda device. At $50 I wasn't very concerned if it gets trashed by rain/sweat or made obsolete by a smartwatch.

ScottJ says:

You don't know what you are talking about. As usual.

illini422 says:

Smartphones killed off portable mp3 players despite the size difference, so I think Misfit is right to bet on smartwatches.

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aitt says:

At least he's being realistic

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Impulses says:

Pretty much, I wouldn't go as far as saying they killed dedicated players completely, but they did take away the bulk of their market. I still rather run with a tiny/disposable SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip than my phone tho, and I might even end up preferring my Fitbit Zip to a fancy smartwatch... Having a phone on a sleeve or a large watch just feels a little too encumbered on long runs, not to mention the damaging risk of rain and sweat.

S-Doo-1965 says:

I was on the fence over the Fitbit Force recall. When the Moto 360 was announced the fitbit offer was accepted. Now I have the scale that I don't use.

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Rafy says:

Same position you're in. I have a very big feeling that FitBit is going to announce something with Google soon. Why has it taken so long for FitBit to announce a product that just changes material used? I just hope all these hardware activity trackers sign up with Google and make some awesome products. You know Apple will most likely have their owned closed tracker.

Zig261 says:

Time to make some Wear watches Mr. ceo if you wanna stay in business.

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hmmm says:

Crushed by devices that few people will ever buy. Interesting.

ACADM says:

I've never seen the point in wearing another device when you already have one (and not just Apple like that CEO implied) in your pocket that does everything the wearable does but without the extra expense.

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maxswell says:

+1

axllebeer says:

Smart move I think. Even something as simple as the Pebble will perform most of the actions that any fitness band will. And it's pretty durable as well so I would have no issues jogging or whatever while wearing it.

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vision63 says:

I'll wear a Smart Watch when Casio makes a G-Shock version of one. I don't need somebody's fragile crap.

Dizfunctions says:

He's being realistic.

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my3poos says:

I have the neo 2 but also wear my Fitbit. My orange theory workout is so intense, that I am afraid of cracking the screen with a weight.

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ScottJ says:

I don't agree. I've used all kinds of "fitness trackers" and they are all superior to a phone or smartwatch because they are simple, cheap, durable, last days on a charge, and often inconspicuous. Tell someone that puts a FitBit in their pocket all day that they now have to wear a clunky watch instead and see how that's received.