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Why Fitbit calls its newest wearable a ‘health smartwatch’

The last time Fitbit had any really big news was last November, when it agreed to become part of Google in a $2.1 billion deal. More than nine months later, the planned transaction is still undergoing scrutiny by regulators. Along with privacy advocates, they’re concerned about what Google might do with the data Fitbit collects about users of its wearables.

But Fitbit, still an independent company, isn’t in a holding pattern. It just announced the Fitbit Sense, an all-new smartwatch that will arrive in late September along with another new smartwatch (the Fitbit Versa 3) and tracker (the Fitbit Inspire 2) that update existing products in the lineup.

Given Fitbit’s history—it established the fitness-tracker category a dozen years ago—it’s no shocker that the Sense focuses on healthy living as its core reason for being, even more than the Apple Watch does nowadays. But during Fitbit’s virtual press conference for journalists—with Fitbit executives walking through the announcements in front of a simulated balmy tropical-island background, complete with soothing wave sound effects—the company tried to stake out ground for the $329 Sense as the first product in a new category: the “health smartwatch.”

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