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It looks like Fitbit is taking a serious look at the kids fitness tracker market as it seeks to diversify.
According to Bloomberg, sources familiar with the matter said discussions on the topic have been held internally for several months. No specifics were revealed but its clear that such a device would need to be very different from the company’s current crop of wearables. And its not just about the hardware.
A fitness tracker for kids needs to make counting steps feel like a fun game and not a chore, and a rewards system would need to be introduced. Such a device could also double-up as a safety wearable by tracking your little one’s location in real-time.
Essential reading: What is the best Fitbit for your kids?
Fitbit has been struggling with its share price and market share heading south for more than a year. The hope was that the launch of its first smartwatch in October, the Ionic, would turn things around. Its still too early to say whether this has, indeed, been the case – but some market analysts are skeptical.
To us, Fitbit entering the kids fitness tracker and/or smartwatch space makes perfect sense. This represents a potentially lucrative market, one that has largely remained untapped by the big players. And lets face it, statistics on childhood obesity in advanced countries make grim reading. Nearly a third of youths in America are overweight or obese.
While there are plenty of examples of startups in this area, to date Garmin is the only mainstream company that has a device specifically designed for children. Its Vivofit Jr which is intended for kids over the age of 4, includes a variety of educational mobile adventures and family step challenges. The tracker also reminds kids to stay active with a move bar and even monitors sleep.
Essential reading: Top 10 fitness trackers for kids
While primarily meant for adults, some of Fitbit’s current range of wearables can also be used by kids. Examples that spring to mind are Fitbit Zip, One, Flex 2 and Alta HR. And if you have a Fitbit yourself, this means you can promote a bit of friendly family competition by adding your kids as friends in the app.
You should be aware though, due to US Federal and State regulations, Fitbit’s Terms of Service do not allow users who are under the age of 13 to create accounts. This is to do with a ban on collecting data on children. As things stand now, if you want to sync your kid’s tracker to Fitbit’s app, you will need to create an account for them.
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