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Fitbit is bringing Stress Management to more devices

Fitness trackers have come a long way since the earliest days where they only measured steps and location. Both smartwatches smart bands are now loaded with a plethora of sensors that, taken together, can sometimes paint a comprehensive picture of one’s health. That picture, however, can sometimes also suggest a person’s mental or psychological state, which is why Fitbit will soon be rolling out its stress tracking feature to more of its smart wearables to give users a heads up when they’re about to blow their top.

As a mental or psychological state, stress isn’t exactly something that can be directly measured. Its physiological effects, however, is right in the alley of the things that fitness trackers do take note of. Many smart wearables use that idea to indirectly monitor a person’s stress levels, something that Fitbit has officially marketed as your Stress Score.

This Stress Management system isn’t exactly new but it did come into focus again with the announcement of the new Fitbit Luxe. Just as its name sounds, the fitness tracker puts a more luxurious form to features associated more with sports, including stress tracking. It seems, however, that Fitbit won’t be making it exclusive to the Luxe and Sense anymore.

According to Wearable, the company will be making its stress management system available on the Versa 3, Versa 2, Luxe, Charge 4, and Inspire 2. Using other metrics such as heart rate, the trackers will warn users about potentially high stress levels and advise them to take action. Such actions can include breathing exercises or, for Fitbit premium subscribers, guided meditation.

Stress scores will be rolling out to these wearables in waves, so make sure that the Fitbit app and device are always up-to-date. The report notes that this stress score feature is different from the Fitbit Sense that is based on an EDA sensor that detects skin response to those activities.

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Fitbit Luxe puts stress and fitness tracking in a more stylish band

Fitbit has a new health-tracking wearable aiming for your wrist, with Fitbit Luxe promising a little more style than most activity trackers. Described as the company’s “most elevated tracker,” Luxe takes its inspiration from jewelry more than the tech world, with a smooth stainless steel case and interchangeable bands and straps.

The casing is made using metal injection molding, for a more seamless finish. Then, there’s metal vaporizing plating for the soft gold and platinum finishes. There’ll be silicone, Horween leather, woven, stainless steel mesh, and other bands and straps, and Fitbit has partnered with gorjana on a Fitbit Luxe Special Edition with a Parker Link Bracelet in soft gold stainless steel and a swimproof silicone peony band.

Everything is controlled via the narrow AMOLED touchscreen with a combination of taps and swipes, and there are no physical buttons on the Luxe at all. It’s water resistant to 50 meters, and has a battery which should last for up to five days, Fitbit says.

Despite the size, though, it’s still a full-featured Fitbit. There’s 24/7 heart rate tracking and oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring, and the Luxe will track pace, distance, and whatever other activity you get up to through the day. There are 20 exercise modes to choose between, and the wearable will automatically begin logging the most appropriate when it spots you starting to work out.

That includes swim tracking, and there’s also sleep tracking with differentiation between stages of sleep. Fitbit’s menstrual health tracking is included, to log periods, record symptoms, and track ovulation.

On the relaxation side, there’s guided breathing and “Mindful Minutes” to try to distract your brain from daily stresses. That’s one of a number of stress management tools, which will track physical signs of stress, Fitbit says, and then give you a score on your levels out of 100. Breathing rate and heart rate variability are also logged, and if you have a Fitbit Premium subscription the app will help join the dots between the various metrics being tracked.

As you’d expect, there are basics like call, text, and smartphone notifications, silent alarms, timers, a stopwatch, and a Do Not Disturb mode for when you’re trying to focus. Fitbit Luxe is available for preorder now, priced at $149.95. The company says it should ship worldwide this spring.

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Fitbit Luxe leaks: Finally, made with metal

A new sort of fitness tracker appeared in a leak this week, one that you might recognize. Fitbit became one of the biggest names in fitness tracking wearables due to its sustained presence in the market and relatively reasonably priced gadgets matched with usable software. Now, with a device called Fitbix Luxe, they might well have created a wearable that’s able to compete directly with the traditional wristwatch.

The biggest difference between earlier versions of the Fitbit wearable fitness tracker and the Fitbit Luxe is the housing. Instead of plastic, this new Fitbit Luxe is said to roll with metal. One of what’s likely a set of different options for housings is stainless steel – in a variety of colors.

Per the leak at WinFuture, this new wearable will work with an OLED display and an ever-so-slightly different shape in its overall design execution. Leaked imagery of the line shows three versions of the device, one each in black, pink, and white. The white band version appears to have a gold color housing. Black seems to have a black housing – possibly gunmetal black, while the pink band version looks like it’s working with a standard stainless steel housing.

UPDATE: The names appear to be black (just black), platinum / orchid (that’s the pink), and “soft gold” with white. It’s expected that the devices will be waterproof (for swim tracking), and that it’ll work with built-in heart rate monitor and motion tracking.

The Fitbit Luxe will almost certainly be the most expensive Fitbit device to date. We do not yet know the exact price of the device series or the release date for Fitbit Luxe. It’s likely that the device will be revealed at a Fitbit event in the next few weeks – we shall see!

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Fitbit Ace 3 leaked: A fitness tracker your kid will probably want

Today the Fitbit Ace 3 leaked in almost all ways, appearing in press photos, with press details, and attached to a reveal date. The Fitbit Ace 3 is (as the name implies) the third version of Fitbit’s kid-aimed fitness tracker, appearing here in black and blue. This device works with a larger OLED display than its predecessors, with features that suggest it’ll be able to remain active and awake for days on end.

The Fitbit Ace 3 was leaked by WinFuture today from almost all angles. This device is reported to roll with a 1.47-inch OLED touchscreen display in gray. It’s quite likely this device will have a simple-as-possible display to make the best use of the battery that sits under the hood. With grayscale only – or JUST black and white – this watch could last for days.

According to leaked specifications, this device has a full charge time of 2 hours, that delivering then a runtime of 192 hours. That’s a full 8 days on a single charge!

The leaked data on this device suggests it’ll track the user’s movements to deliver distance measurements, calorie consumption (somehow, magically?) and sleep monitor data. This device has a built-in pedometer, too.

You’ll connect to this device with Bluetooth and change settings with connected apps on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The device is “waterproof” to some degree*, and it’ll work with a “family account” as housed on the smartphone of the wearer’s parent.

*As noted by WinFuture, since this device’s predecessor can be submerged in water as deep as 50 meters for a short period of time, we can probably safely assume this new model will be at least as ready to take on the elements.

Per the leak, this Fitbit Ace 3 wearable device will be revealed at an event (or simple press release) on March 15, 2021. This device will likely cost similar to previously released Fitbit Ace devices, and it’ll be released in at least two color combinations. One is black and red, the other is blue and green.

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Fitbit might have a more affordable subscription tier under Google

Google might already consider its acquisition of Fitbit a done deal but there are still some loose ends that need to be addressed. In the meantime, however, the two seem to be proceeding as normal, at least behind the scenes. While Fitbit will most likely continue to operate as it is now, there might be some changes afoot in the way it does business. That may include a cheaper subscription tier that may also be Google’s way to monetize the data the fitness tracker giant will be able to gather.

You don’t have to pay a single cent just to use Fitbit, of course, but the company’s Premium subscription naturally offers a lot more perks for fitness-minded users. Those include metrics and analytics, guides and tips, and access to historical data. The latter might be key to how Google will be able to profit from its controversial acquisition.

According to a survey sent to users, Fitbit might be introducing a new subscription tier lower than Premium’s $9.99 per month fee. What this tier will offer above the free tier, among other things, is access to historical data for metrics beyond a month or so. At the moment, the free tier only saves your data for up to 30 days.

Android Central suggests that this will be how Google will make money out of Fitbit users’ data. As part of Google’s compromises to get regulatory approval for the acquisition, Google agreed not to use Fitbit data for targeted ads, something that people consider to be a privacy violation. As a data company, that is pretty much a loss for Google so a subscription tier seems to be the next best strategy.

That doesn’t mean Google won’t use that data for other purposes, though, just not for targeted ads. It’s still unsure whether this new subscription will even push through but users might want to still brace for the inevitable change of hands behind the scenes.

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How to pay for NYC subway and bus fares using your Apple, Android, Fitbit, or Samsung device

As the saying goes, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. Starting Friday, contactless payments are set to expand in a big way as New York City MTA riders will be able to pass through the turnstiles with just a flick of their wrist or a wave of their phone—as long as they’re wearing an NFC-enabled Apple Watch, Fitbit, Samsung, or Android device.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s One Metro New York is launching a new tap-and-pay program on several transit lines, including all Staten Island buses, and all stops on the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines between Grand Central and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center. The MTA plans to expand the OMNY program to the entire NYC public transportation system by 2021.

While Tim Cook had already confirmed Apple’s participation in the program and Google previously announced its partnership with the MTA “to bring more features with Google Maps and Google Assistant to make commuting even easier,” OMNY will also support Samsung and Fitbit devices. Here’s how they’ll work:

Apple Pay

OMNY utilizes Apple Pay Express Mode, which lets you tap your watch or phone on the contactless terminal without needing to wake the device or use biometric authentication. Users will need to update to iOS 12.3 and watchOS 5.2.1 to use Apple Pay Express Transit on the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and later iPhones, and Apple Watch Series 1 and newer models.

Google Pay

Any Android smartphone with an NFC chip can take advantage of the OMNY system by tapping their phone on the terminal, but Google hasn’t announced whether Wear OS watches will work yet. Google Assistant also has new transit features, so you can ask when the next train is arriving and Maps will tell you if your station supports OMNY.

Fitbit Pay

Fitbit Pay launched in 2017 and since expanded to some 40 countries and several of Fitbit’s trackers: the Ionic, Versa Special Edition, and Charge 3 Special Edition all support the OMNY system via the Wallet app. Fitbit also announced it will be rolling out transit support in six other cities as well: Chicago, Singapore, New South Wales, Taiwan, Vancouver, and London.

Samsung Pay

Samsung phones that support NFC or Magnetic Secure Transmission technology will be able to pay for fares using either the Samsung Pay app or the Google Pay app. Using with a Galaxy or Gear watch can also use OMNY but will need to use Samsung Pay as their default method of payment.

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