Fitbit unveils Versa Lite smartwatch and new fitness-focused wearables

Even the kids get new smart bands



Image credit: Fitbit

Coming from a good holiday quarterFitbit is determined to bring wearables to more consumers. That’s why the US-based company has unveiled a new smartwatch and three smart bands.

Versa Lite

Following the success of the Fitbit Versa is the Versa Lite. This new Fitbit smartwatch packs many of the features of the first one such as the automatic activity tracker, PurePulse (heart rate) and Sleep Stages tracking, 15+ goal-based exercise modes, connected GPS, and smartphone notifications.

It looks like the first one with its squarish body, but it only has a single button as opposed to three of the original Versa. It’s still swim-proof and has an SpO2 (blood oxygen) sensor that can detect sleep apnea.

Fitbit Versa Lite | Image credit: Fitbit

As its name suggests, the Versa Lite has to let go of some features. It lacks automatic lap counting, it can’t count stairs either due to the absence of a barometer, and it has no built-in storage for music.

Although, this makes the Versa Lite Fitbit’s most affordable smartwatch for US$ 160. It’ll come in four color choices: Mulberry, Blue Marina, Lilac, and White.

Inspire and Inspire HR

Aside from the Versa Lite, Fitbit also introduced the Inspire and Inspire HR smart bands. These two new wearables are not full-blown smartwatches, but are instead activity trackers just like the previous Fitbit Alta series.

With a promised battery life of up to five days, the Inspire smart bands can track user’s active periods with more than 15 exercise modes, plus rest periods including sleep.

Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR | Image credit: Fitbit

They are water-resistant for up to 50 meters and you can take them for a swim. Aside from activity tracking, the Inspire and Inspire HR have timer and stopwatch features. They connect to a smartphone to show notifications through its grayscale OLED display.

The Inspire HR gets an additional heart rate monitor, hence its name. The regular Inspire is priced at US$ 70, while the HR model goes for US$ 100.

Ace 2

Fitbit also wants to capture the kids market with the Ace 2. Other big wearable brands like Apple and Samsung don’t have products for kids yet, which makes this segment pretty exclusive to Fitbit.

If the old Ace is based on the Alta, the new Ace 2 is a kid-friendly version of the Inspire. It has a durable bumper design and it’s water-resistant. Like the Inspire, it can last for up to five days on a single charge.

Fitbit Ace 2 | Image credit: Fitbit

The Ace 2 hopes to help kids build healthy habits. That’s why aside from the usual activity tracking, it also features friendly competition with other Ace 2 users and they can win virtual badges when certain goals are met.

The smart band for kids shows cutely animated watch faces that match the bright Watermelon/Teal and Night Sky/Neon color options. Printed bands are available as well. It’ll be sold for US$ 70.

All the new Fitbit wearables will be available starting this month, aside from the Ace 2 which will come during the summer.

SEE ALSO: Exercising with the Fitbit Charge 3: Workouts you can do while traveling


Apple might make a ring you can wear on other parts of your body

Patent granted



Earlier this year, Samsung reportedly started development on a smart ring, a fitness tracker shaped like a ring you were on your finger. Now, based on a new patent, Apple is doing the same. However, the company’s iteration goes beyond just a ring meant for your finger.

As first reported by Apple Insider, the American government has recently granted Apple a patent for an “electronic system with ring device.” Though the depicted device repeatedly shows a ring worn on a finger, the patent description also describes other uses, such as on a “wrist, arm, leg, neck, head, and/or other body part.”

The patent was written vaguely enough to accommodate a lot of uses. One example that the patent describes is NFC technology activating when in range of certain devices and objects. For example, a user can use a wearable bracelet or anklet to enter a gated area. A user can also receive information through the wearable when near a book or another device.

Naturally, the described device will also have tracking capabilities. It’s possible that the wearable is meant to pair with Apple’s other devices in its ecosystem such as an iPhone or an Apple Watch.

That said, a patent rarely corresponds to a finalized product. While the possibilities of such a device are numerous, it’s also possible that Apple won’t move forward with an actual product. Currently, smart rings are still a relatively niche segment.

SEE ALSO: Samsung is working on a smart ring

Continue Reading


WhatsApp will let you hide all your secret chats with a password

Passwords can even have an emoji



Secret chats is a boon to the online community. However, while the feature can protect your conversations from online snoopers, nothing can stop anyone who grabs your phone and goes through all your apps. Now, WhatsApp is finally adding an extra layer of protections for those who use secret chats on the platform — a secret code.

For anyone engaged in secret conversations, a password seems like a no-brainer. While the feature has been a long time coming, its launch is still welcome today. With the new version, users can hide all their secret chats with a passcode.

Plus, the passcodes are more unique than most. Rather than just a short PIN or a traditional password, users can use emojis too. Allowing emojis can add an even more secure lock to those private conversations.

Once secured, the locked chats will no longer pop up by default on WhatsApp’s main feed. While users can still toggle their visibility on and off, users will have to input their secret passcodes into the app’s search bar to see their list of secret chats.

While the feature is still rolling out now, users already have existing options to lock individual chats away from prying eyes. These measures include fingerprint scanning, face recognition, and good ol’ passwords. The new feature is more meant to hide all of them at the same time, especially when a shoulder snooper can just spot locked chats right from the list.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp might soon let you chat with Telegram, other apps

Continue Reading


Google Messages adds new features similar to iMessage

Photomoji sounds familiar



It’s been a great month for RCS. Recently, Apple, the messaging standard’s longstanding rival, finally announced support for RCS coming in 2024. Now, it has reached another huge milestone: 1 billion active users, according to Google. To celebrate, Google has announced new features coming to Messages.

RCS has been the standard for Google’s Messages for a while now. However, despite reaching a significant number of users over the years, Messages has often trailed Apple’s iMessage in terms of features. Today, Messages is finally getting a healthy infusion of the latter’s newer developments.

For one, the new Photomoji feature can turn your photos into message reactions. Using the onboard AI, Google can automatically turn the subject of any photo for use in the app. Messages will also save these for future use. Now, while this might sound familiar for iOS users, Google will not require users to turn photos into stickers before using them in iMessage.

Users can also change the color of their bubbles, digging at the ongoing green versus blue debate between iOS and Android.

Additionally, Voice Moods will allow users to add an emoji to sent voice messages. Even before playing them, recipients will already have an idea what the tone of the message will be. And speaking of the format, Google also improved the audio quality for voice messages.

Finally, Messages will have Screen Effects going forward. Like other messaging platforms (like Messenger and Viber), typing certain phrases such as “I love you” will cause the screen to react appropriately. In Viber, for example, typing “happy birthday” will cause balloons to fly up from the bottom.

These updates are slowly rolling out through a beta version coming to select countries and devices.

SEE ALSO: Apple is finally solving its green bubble problem

Continue Reading