There is about to be a big battle for your wrist, and Fitbit, one of the major pioneers in the fitness tracker space, is ready with a brand new soldier. Today, the company is introducing the $129.95 Fitbit Force, a bracelet that combines the company's expertise in digital fitness tracking with some basic smartwatch functionality.
The Force looks a lot like the company's Fitbit Flex bracelet, but has a new small OLED screen right on the band so you can easily tell the time and how many steps you have taken or how many miles you've gone. Like Fitbit's Flex bracelet and its Zip and One trackers, which you can clip to a pair of pants, the device tracks the steps you've taken, the distance you've gone, the calories you've burned, the floors or stairs you've climbed, and even how long you have slept.
It can show most of that information on the screen or you can view it through the Fitbit app, which pairs with the tracker via Bluetooth 4.0.
But now, Fitbit is tapping into that Bluetooth capability even more, sending information from the phone to your wrist. When paired with an iPhone running iOS 7, you see incoming call notifications right on the display. While that feature isn't available yet for Android phones, Android phones have their own trick. With any NFC-equipped Android phone, you can tap the Force to the phone and it will automatically launch the Fitbit app.
The Force joins a crowded market of other fitness devices and new smartwatches, including Fitbit's family of devices. Fitbit says "one size doesn't fit all," and many other companies including Nike, Jawbone and now Samsung would likely agree. Nike's Fuelband has been one of the most popular trackers and Jawbone's Up is a very stylish option.
But considering that our biggest complaint about the Fitbit Flex was that there was no easy way to see our progress without looking at the phone's screen, the Force might just be the best gadget to have on your wrist right now.