Fitbit has announced its first smartwatch – the Fitbit Ionic. The Ionic will be available in select South African stores mid October 2017, at R5,499 and is available in three colours – silver gray, smoke gray and burnt orange.
In addition, accessories will be available in a black and charcoal or cobalt and lime two-toned breathable Sport Band, as well as a hand-crafted and perforated Horween leather strap in cognac or midnight blue.
A health and fitness first platform, Ionic offers a highly personalised experience not previously seen in other smartwatches. Ionic builds on Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise with a new relative SpO2 sensor, making it possible to track deeper health insights like sleep apnea in the future, industry-leading GPS tracking, on-device dynamic workouts, improved heart rate tracking, and water resistance up to 50 meters. Plus, smart features like contactless payments, on-board music, smart notifications, and a variety of popular apps and clock faces available in the Fitbit App Gallery. Ionic also has all the core features our users love from Fitbit like 4+ day battery life, automatic activity and sleep tracking, and cross-platform compatibility. Ionic will be available at select local retailers from mid October 2017, with a new Fitbit Ionic adidas special edition device coming in 2018. The Fitbit app software development kit (SDK) will be open to developers in September 2017.
“Ten years ago, Fitbit pioneered the wearables category with the introduction of its first health and fitness tracker. Since then, we have become the leading global wearables brand, setting the pace of innovation in the category and establishing the largest social fitness network that helps millions of people around the world be healthier,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “With Ionic, we will deliver what consumers have not yet seen in a smartwatch – a health and fitness first platform that combines the power of personalization and deeper insights with our most advanced technology to date, unlocking opportunities for unprecedented health tracking capabilities in the future.”
Ionic follows a long line of innovative and popular Fitbit products that redefined how we learn about and manage our health, and even helped save lives. Ionic continues to deliver on this promise by offering more personalized insights and guidance, coupled with an engaging experience and sleek design, to help drive meaningful behavior change and better health outcomes.
Everything you need, all in one device
From beginners to experienced athletes, Fitbit’s most advanced device to date offers personal, actionable guidance to motivate you to reach your goals – all while keeping you connected with apps and notifications.
- Personal trainer with Fitbit Coach: Access dynamic, on-device workouts that adapt based on feedback you provide on your wrist, or listen to expert-designed running and walking Audio Coaching sessions (available 2018) to increase endurance, speed and form on your schedule.
- Running companion: Automatically track your run with the new Run Detect feature that kicks in GPS tracking – just step out the door and go; see real-time pace and distance; auto-pause to grab some water or take a breather and automatically resume when you start running.
- New swim exercise mode: With water resistance up to 50 meters and industry-leading lap counting, use Ionic in the pool and see your real-time laps, exercise duration and calories burned for pool swims.
- Industry-leading GPS: The unique design and integrated antenna inside Ionic provide a stronger connection to GPS and GLONASS satellites, delivering industry-leading GPS performance. Leave your phone behind and see pace and distance right on your wrist, as well as record elevation climbed, split times, and a map of your walk, run or ride in the Fitbit app.
- Improved heart rate technology: Ionic has enhanced PurePulse® heart rate tracking with greater accuracy during exercises like cycling, intervals and running; better measure calorie burn, see real-time heart rate zones to optimize intensity, and track resting heart rate 24/7.
- New sensor technology: The introduction of a relative SpO2 sensor for estimating blood oxygen levels opens the potential for tracking important new indicators about your health, such as sleep apnea.
- Motivation through music: Leave your phone at home and find the motivation to jumpstart your workout by storing and playing more than 300 songs on device (2.5 GB of storage). Connect Ionic to any Bluetooth device of your choosing. Make payments using Fitbit Pay™: Leave your wallet and phone at home and effortlessly pay for items right from your device, wherever contactless payments are accepted. Over the coming months you will be able to add eligible credit and debit cards from top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe, with more countries and banks planned soon.
- Smart notifications you need most: With extended smartphone notifications, receive call, text and calendar alerts, as well as notifications from apps on your smartphone like Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Slack, Snapchat and more.
- Multi-day battery life: With 4+ days battery life on a single charge (10 hours with GPS or playing music), Ionic will outlast any activity you do during the day and still track your sleep all night.
In addition to these new features, Ionic has everything you love about Fitbit – automatically track your steps, calories, floors climbed and sleep stages, see your cardio fitness level (estimated VO2 Max), maintain moments of calm and more.
“Whether I’m trying to stay in shape during the off-season or train for the playoffs, tracking my activity and health on and off the court is crucial to my success,” said Harrison Barnes, Fitbit Ambassador, Olympic gold medalist and star forward for the Dallas Mavericks. “With Ionic, I can see my heart rate zones in real-time so I can gauge how hard I’m pushing myself during a workout, and track my sleep each night to make sure I’m rested and recovered so I’m at my best on the court the next day.”
Fitbit + adidas
Fitbit is partnering with adidas to deliver a Fitbit Ionic special edition device and training programs in 2018. This relationship will leverage adidas’ robust performance program expertise with Fitbit data and insights from millions of global users to help athletes of all levels perform better, play better and feel better.
Make Ionic your own
Ionic runs on Fitbit OS, the company’s new operating system for smartwatches that will be regularly updated to add new user experiences. This includes the launch of the Fitbit App Gallery, where you can select the apps and clock faces that appeal to you so you’re always armed with the information you want most, in a way that reflects your own personal needs and style.
The App Gallery offers a range of health and fitness apps from Fitbit like Exercise, Fitbit Coach, Relax, Timer and more, as well as popular apps that are designed to make life easier and more convenient when you’re on the go. Each app is designed specifically for Ionic so you don’t have to download an accompanying mobile app or have your smartphone nearby. Leading partner apps available on Fitbit Ionic at launch include:
- Strava, the leading social network for millions of athletes at all levels, makes it easy to get inspired, stay motivated, track activities and analyze your performance data for your runs, bike rides and swims. Using the exclusive Matched Runs feature, you can benchmark yourself against past performances on your most common routes – right on your wrist.
- Weather, powered by global leader AccuWeather, gives you real-time weather predictions with Superior Accuracy from your three favorite locations. Get personalized forecast information with your exact location, so you can better plan your workout or weekend.
- The App Gallery will continue to expand with more popular apps expected this Spring, as well as clock faces created by our developer community.
Developer tools and benefits
If you’re interested in building for the Fitbit App Gallery, you will be able to use the SDK, including our Web-based developer environment Fitbit Studio, starting in September 2017. In developing apps and clock faces for Ionic, you will have access to sensors on the device and the opportunity for your content to be available to all Ionic and future Fitbit smartwatch users. We have built upon the Pebble platform to provide these industry-leading developer benefits and tools:
- Choose who you develop for: Skip the review process and create apps or clock faces just for friends and family, or submit for approval to be included in the curated Gallery.
- Cross-platform compatibility: Develop one app and reach Fitbit’s large, global community of users across Android, iOS and Windows platforms.
- Open platform for health partners: The SDK creates an easy way for enterprise health companies to encourage better health outcomes by utilizing Fitbit devices and access to its sensors to build customized wellness programs for their customers.
- Future opportunities: The built-in NFC chip opens the opportunity to develop apps that provide keyless and cardless access to buildings, hotels, sporting venues and transportation in the future.
Fitbit’s strongest and lightest GPS watch
- As Fitbit’s first device designed fully in-house, Ionic features new processes and materials that improve weight, fit, durability, breathability and daily wear – resulting in an extremely lightweight, ergonomic design comfortable enough to wear all day and night.
- Our most advanced design: Utilizing nano-molding technology, the unibody watchcase allows it to double as the Bluetooth and GPS antenna. This construction creates a stronger GPS signal that works in busy cities or on remote trails.
- Built to last: Ionic is built to be more durable with new materials, new bands and more extensive testing than ever before.
- Easy to read display: A color, spherical glass touchscreen with crisp graphics and amplified brightness of up to 1,000 nits lets you read your stats wherever you are – in bright sunlight or a low-lit room.
- Trending styles and accessories: Ionic comes in a range of styles and colours with interchangeable Classic, Sport and Horween leather accessories so it can seamlessly transition from work to a workout or a night out.
Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards
The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.
The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).
Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”
Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. She has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).
The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:
The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.
Cons exploit Telegram ICO
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.
In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.
The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.
Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.
“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:
- Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
- Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
- Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.