Fitbit Blaze: New smartwatch so badly received that shares plunge almost 20%

Analysts have said that the new watch is ‘risky’ for the company, which previously focused on fitness trackers

Fitbit has launched its new fitness tracker — and seen its share price plunge almost 20 per cent in response.

The company made its name selling small trackers that go on the wrist and monitor how much activity their owners are doing. But the company launched a new watch that does all that while also functioning like a watch — with a normal computer screen that lets people see information.

The watch is called Blaze, and looks to be Fitbit’s attempt to take on Apple and Android versions of the smartwatch. But analysts said that a huge fall after it was announced was probably a reflection of the fact that those companies are now fairly established in the smartwatch market.

The Blaze is cheaper than competitors made by companies like Apple and Samsung. But it also has less functionality.

The watch costs $199 and will be in shops in May.

Fitbit’s previous products have been simple — focusing on being bands, rather than watches. Analysts said that the company had done well in that niche, and that branching out into smartwatches could be risky.

The Blaze was one of a huge number of smartwatches launched at the CES gadget show, being held in Las Vegas this week. Withings and Misfit launched their own wearable products, and Huawei revealed a smartwatch aimed explicitly at women.

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