Fitbit Introduces an Unprecedented Smartwatch Unlike Any Previous Models

Official depiction of the Fitbit Ace LTE product.

It has been close to two years since Fitbit introduced its previous smartwatch offerings: the Fitbit Sense 2 and Fitbit Versa 4. While we await successors to those models, Fitbit has unveiled a new addition to its wearable collection — a smartwatch that stands out as a departure from their typical offerings.

The latest release is named the Fitbit Ace LTE, and it represents a couple of significant “firsts” for Fitbit. Not only is it the first smartwatch from Fitbit designed specifically for children, but it also marks Fitbit’s debut in creating a smartwatch powered by Wear OS.

Fitbit’s innovative approach to monitoring activity

An image of a child sporting a Fitbit Ace LTE.
A Fitbit Ace LTE displaying its Noodle activity ring on the main screen

The health and activity tracking on the kid-centric Fitbit Ace LTE differs significantly from Fitbit’s other trackers. Instead of focusing on step counts or calorie burn targets, the primary activity goal is a “Noodle” — an activity ring on the home screen that tracks kids’ movements and rewards them with a playful animation upon reaching their Move Goal. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, the Move Goal is set at “at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day.”

Fitbit has also revolutionized how kids engage in physical activity. Rather than monitoring a traditional 30-minute strength-training session, kids earn rewards through video games on the watch. The Fitbit Ace LTE comes preloaded with a selection of games described by Fitbit as “interval-based gaming.”

Snapshots of fitness games on the Fitbit Ace LTE.
Games from the Fitbit Arcade, along with activity challenges

Each game is designed for short bursts of play and requires physical activity. For instance, Pollo 13 resembles a Mario Kart-style racer where players steer the kart by moving their hands to navigate the course. To progress to the next level, kids need to engage in various activities throughout the day, such as walking or playing games like hide-and-seek. Sleep tracking is not included; instead, Fitbit incentivizes kids to charge their watch overnight while they sleep.

In terms of rewards, they play a significant role in the Fitbit Ace LTE experience. Each child with the watch receives their personalized “Eejie” character — an avatar that evolves to be “healthier and happier” as the child achieves their movement goals. By playing and completing fitness games, kids earn arcade tickets that can be used to acquire new outfits for their Eejie and additional items for their Eejie’s virtual home in Bit Valley. This aspect of character and home customization resembles features seen in games like Animal Crossing.

Parental oversight, specifications, and more

Snapshots of the Fitbit Ace parent app.
Fitbit Ace parent app

Providing a child with a smartwatch is a decision that requires careful consideration, and Fitbit has given this considerable thought. When a parent purchases an Ace LTE for their child, the watch is set up and managed through the new Fitbit Ace companion app. Through this app, parents can track their child’s real-time location, communicate via texts and calls, monitor their child’s physical activity, and automatically disable games and notifications during school hours.

Children can only communicate with their parents or other approved contacts designated by their parents. The real-time location data of the Ace LTE is solely shared with parents through the companion app, with Google’s cloud used solely for transferring location data from the watch to the app. This data is automatically deleted after 24 hours. Additionally, children’s activity data is purged from Google’s servers on a rolling 35-day cycle.

Fitbit has emphasized that the Fitbit Ace LTE does not support third-party apps, will never display advertisements, and ensures that children’s health data will not be sold or utilized by Fitbit/Google in any manner. Although the Fitbit Ace LTE is built on Wear OS, making it the first Fitbit-branded Wear OS watch, Fitbit describes the Ace LTE’s operating system as “bespoke” and does not categorize it strictly as a “Wear OS watch”; it stands as a unique entity.

Given the emphasis on calling, texting, and location sharing — as indicated by the name — the watch comes equipped with LTE connectivity as a standard feature. It shares the same internal components as the Google Pixel Watch 2, featuring a Snapdragon W5 chip. The OLED display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, the watch is water-resistant up to 50m, and it offers over 16 hours of battery life, with a 30-minute charge providing a 60% boost (or 70 minutes for a full charge from zero). NFC functionality is also present, with Fitbit planning to introduce Tap to Pay soon to help children learn about financial transactions.

Fitbit Ace LTE pricing and availability

Official depiction of the Fitbit Ace LTE product.

The Fitbit Ace LTE is currently open for preorders. Priced at $230, the watch is offered in two color options: Mild and Spicy. The Mild variant includes a black/dark gray watch band, while the Spicy version features a light gray/purple band. Additional watch bands can be purchased for $35 each, unlocking exclusive Eejie and Bit Valley items upon connection to the Ace LTE.

Furthermore, similar to many other fitness trackers, the Fitbit Ace LTE requires a subscription. Known as the Ace Pass, this subscription enables LTE connectivity, access to fitness games, parental controls, and regular game/content updates. The Ace Pass is priced at $10 per month or $120 annually, with the annual plan including a complimentary watch band.

While the Fitbit Ace LTE appears to cover a wide range of features, including appealing hardware, gamified fitness activities, and a strong focus on safety and privacy, the $230 price tag along with a recurring $10 monthly subscription may seem steep for a children’s watch. Nonetheless, it presents an innovative concept, and its success with the Ace LTE will be intriguing to observe in the context of Fitbit’s product lineup.

Valentina Rogers

Valentina is a tech-savvy wordsmith, blending her expertise in digital trends with a talent for crafting compelling stories that resonate with readers of all backgrounds.

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