Fitbit's been in the fitness-tracking game for a while now, but today marks its first official entry into the wearable band space. Shown off here at CES 2013, the Flex is a wireless band much in the vein of Nike's Fuelband and Jawbone's rebooted Up. But while it shares many similarities with those existing products, there are a few very notable areas where it breaks apart from the pack-- namely, the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0. Now, health nuts can wirelessly update their stats to an iPhone or limited selection of Android (!) devices via that standard without having to manually sync.
While it doesn't boast the Yves Behar design that Jawbone fancies, the Flex should prove to be a welcome accessory for fashion conscious consumers. To that end, it comes in five different colors -- navy, black, tangerine, slate and teal -- and features a thin strip of LEDs that can be activated by a simple tap. Those lights, five in total, each represent 20-percent towards a user's assigned goal, so current progress can be easily monitored. And, as you might expect, there's a vibration motor within the band to alert users based on settings made from the companion app.
The Flex is indeed a waterproof product and can be worn in the shower or even the swimming pool, though we wouldn't advise you take it diving. Despite this H20 resistance, the Flex won't track your butterfly strokes (or doggie paddles), but it will keep count of your steps, calories burned, sleep and distance walked.
Perhaps one of the most welcome innovations of this particular wearable is its ability to play friendly with Android -- specifically, the Samsung Galaxy Note II and Galaxy S III. Users who purchase this band will be able to download that app from Google Play at the end of January. Further, there's one additional perk for Android users: the ability to tap-to-pair with NFC. In theory, this functionality should provide users with easy access to their stats, but we (in addition to the company's many reps) had significant trouble triggering the action on repeated occasions.
If you've been monitoring the fitness-tracking space, but have been holding out for a band that offers just a little extra, then it's worth considering the Flex. You can look for it to hit this spring for $100. Stay tuned for a video demo of the Flex in action.
Sarah Silbert contributed to this report.
Samsung Galaxy S III