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Fitbit launches Charge 3

Fitbit has announced the Charge 3, the latest in its Charge family of devices. Charge 3 features an elevated, premium swimproof design with a touchscreen display, 15+ goal-based exercise modes and essential smart features to stay connected.

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Fitbit’s Charge family of products is the most popular of Fitbit’s lineup, with 35 million devices sold to date. According to Fitbit research, of adult consumers who considered buying a wearable in the last year, 42% wanted a tracker versus 36% who wanted a smartwatch – due to the slimmer design, easy-to-use features, streamlined experience and price point. Further, IDC (International Data Corporation) estimates shipments of fitness trackers will continue to comprise a significant portion of the overall wearables category for the next several years. Trackers also make up the majority of wearable sales in major global markets like Australia, Great Britain, Japan, Singapore and Spain.  

“With Charge 3, we are building on the success of our best-selling Charge franchise and delivering our most innovative tracker, offering an extremely slim, comfortable and premium design, along with the advanced health and fitness features our users want. Charge 3 gives existing users a compelling reason to upgrade, while also allowing us to reach new users who want a sleeker, more affordable wearable in a tracker form factor,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit. “Our commitment to consumer choice and ability to meet the demand of millions of users by offering a range of products, from trackers to smartwatches, will enable us to expand our share of the overall wearables market.”

Premium design, intelligently crafted

Charge 3 is crafted from premium, lightweight materials, including an aerospace grade aluminum case and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 display for a slimmer, modern silhouette, increased durability and more comfortable fit for men and women. It features a crisp, touchscreen OLED display that is nearly 40 percent larger and brighter than its predecessor, offering a more intuitive experience with easy access to your most important information. 

Fitbit Charge 3 is the first wearable with an inductive button, which includes new patent-pending technology that provides a streamlined, swimproof design, increased space in the device to add more sensors plus a larger battery with up to 7 days of use, and more effortless interaction while maintaining the performance expected from our most advanced fitness tracker.

To complement the elevated hardware, the interactive software experience was redesigned to more deeply engage and motivate users to reach their goals each day. The high-resolution touchscreen display brilliantly showcases crisp, grayscale graphics with new playful animations and expressive graphics which surprise and delight, creating fun moments to help you celebrate milestones and stay focused on hitting your next goal. 

Superior health & fitness experience

Charge 3 also delivers the most advanced health and fitness features found on a Fitbit tracker to date. With more than nine trillion minutes of heart rate data tracked, Fitbit has enhanced its 24/7 PurePulse® heart rate technology for even greater accuracy during exercise compared to Charge 2, and provides a better measure of calorie burn and resting heart rate to optimise workouts and help uncover health trends. The addition of a relative SpO2 sensor – a first for a Fitbit tracker – allows for the potential to estimate changes in blood oxygen levels and help track new health indicators, like sleep apnea. 

Additional health and fitness features include: 

  • Goal-based exercise modes: Choose from 15+ exercise modes like bike, swim, run, weights and yoga; set a goal for calories burned, distance or duration, and see real-time stats, progress and celebrations on device when you reach your goal. 
  • Water resistant to 50M: Wear in the shower, rain, pool or ocean. See real-time duration on your wrist with Swim Mode, or use SmartTrack® automatic exercise recognition to see laps and pace in the Fitbit® app post-swim.
  • Go the distance: Stay motivated with Connected GPS from your phone for real-time pace and distance on device, plus Run Detect with auto pause and auto stop (coming soon).
  • Female health tracking: Gain a deeper understanding of your menstrual cycle by using the Fitbit app to log your period and ovulation (coming soon), record symptoms and compare cycle trends over time. With all your health and fitness stats in one place, you can better manage your health; easily see where you are in your cycle in the on-device dashboard.
  • Information at a glance: Easily navigate the new personalised, on-device dashboard to see daily activity stats and health metrics like female health tracking; hydration, sleep and weight (coming soon).
  • Personalised insights: Know yourself to improve your health with new dynamic insights about your activity, heart rate, nutrition and sleep to help you reach your goals with positive reinforcement and tips to course correct when needed (coming soon in the Fitbit app). 
  • Social motivation: Connect to one of the largest health and fitness social networks in the world, with more than 25 million active users for added motivation to reach your goals when you engage with friends, family and others through Feed, Groups and Challenges in the Fitbit app.
  • 24/7 guidance and motivation: Stay on top of all your daily activity and get a more complete picture of your overall health with features like automatic exercise recognition, Reminders to Move, Relax guided breathing, sleep tracking with Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights, and more.

Advancements in Sleep Tracking & Analysis

Fitbit helps millions of users better understand their sleep patterns and the lifestyle habits than can impact them. Fitbit started tracking sleep in 2009and has built one of the largest databases of sleep over the past nine years with more than 7.5 billion nights tracked. Fitbit also introduced Sleep Stages and Sleep Insights based on heart rate variability to give you an even more in-depth understanding of sleep quality.

“Fitbit continues to harness its data to give users actionable insights into their health and wellness. For example, we’ve found that 1 in 4 people get significantly more sleep on weekends than weekdays, which implies they are trying to make up for reduced sleep during the week. We can deliver insights to these users through the Fitbit app to make them aware of how this behavior affects their well-being and suggest how to set up a sleep schedule,” said Shelten Yuen, VP of Research at Fitbit. “In the future, we hope to provide more guidance to our users to reduce the risk of disease so they can become the healthiest versions of themselves.”

Fitbit continues to make advancements in sleep and is announcing a new Sleep Score beta from Fitbit Labs that will be available to Fitbit users later this year. Using key metrics tracked by any Fitbit device with advanced 24/7 PurePulse heart rate tracking, Sleep Score will provide a nightly score to help give you a more complete picture of your overall sleep quality and what factors affect it. 

In addition, for devices with a relative SpO2 sensor, including Charge 3, Fitbit Ionic™ and Fitbit Versa™, Fitbit will test the tracking of breathing disruptions, which can be indicators of health issues such as allergies, asthma or sleep apnea. 

“With the Fitbit Labs Sleep Score beta, we’re pioneering an intuitive way for people to understand their sleep. It’s an example of how we are continually evolving the health experience for our users,” Yuen added.  

Separately, Fitbit will continue to develop and clinically validate FDA ((U.S. Food & Drug Administration) regulated software as a medical device for various health conditions including sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation. Fitbit is one of nine companies in the FDA’s digital health software precertification pilot program, which is designed to streamline the approval process for software as a medical device.

Stay connected with the right mix of smart features

Along with its advanced health and fitness features, Charge 3 is Fitbit’s smartest tracker yet, offering the best smart features to stay connected to what matters most without overwhelming you with technology or distractions you don’t want or need. 

  • Expanded smart features: Easily customise and view call, calendar, text and smartphone app notifications (like Facebook and Uber), plus accept or reject calls and respond on the go with pre-populated or custom quick replies for Android users (coming soon).
  • Essential apps: Make the most of your day with top-requested convenient apps like Alarms, Timer and Weather; plus Calendar and Fitbit Leaderboard coming soon with future updates.
  • Popular brand apps: A select number of popular brand apps will be added on device in the future, similar to those offered on Ionic and Versa.
  • Easy and secure payments: Leave your wallet at home and use Charge 3 Special Edition devices to make easy and secure payments with Fitbit Pay™ contactless payments; supported by more than 100 financial institutions in 18 countries.  In South Africa, Fitbit Pay is available to all existing FNB/RMB Private Bank cardholders, who have a Fitbit Charge 3™ Special Edition, Fitbit Ionic™ and Fitbit Versa™ smartwatches, wherever contactless payments are accepted.
  • Broad compatibility: Compatible across most Android and iOS devices, with Windows coming soon, so you can choose the wearable you want, regardless of your phone.

Accessories, Pricing & Availability

Customise your Charge 3 day and night with a redesigned, easier-than-ever band attach and a range of accessory options. These feature premium materials like refined polygonal-textured and stain-resistant classic bands, breathable perforated silicone sports bands, fashionable woven bands and premium Horween hand-crafted leather bands. Charge 3 Special Edition with NFC features an exclusive, white silicone sports band with a graphite aluminum case or lavender woven band with a rose gold aluminium case, and offers two looks in one with the inclusion of an additional black classic accessory band in-box. 

Charge 3 will become available for R2,599 in black with a graphite aluminum case or blue gray with a rose gold aluminum case; accessories range from R349 – R549. Fitbit Charge 3 Special Edition with Fitbit Pay will be available at local retailers for R3,099. 

Charge 3 will be available in stores starting with October 2018. 

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New iPhone pricing for SA

The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.

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iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,

Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
*FNB Credit Card Payment Plan, price per month over 37 months, a 40% trade-in value after 24 months

How to pre-order – Pre-ordering online for either cash or the FNB payment plan gives customers the benefit of reserving their purchase without having to queue and the added convenience of having purchases delivered directly to their door. Pre-orders of iPhone Xs and Xs Max are completed online by visiting www.myistore.co.za.
FREE iCare Plus – Exclusive to iStore, all customers can get its 2-year extended warranty, which includes one Apple Certified screen repair, that normally sells for R1 999, for FREE. To qualify, customers should secure a voucher online now at www.myistore.co.za , and subsequently redeem it when they upgrade their contract or purchase any new iPhone at iStore (iPhone 8 and newer) between now and 31 December 2018. Offer is limited, secure your voucher now.

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Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg

Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.

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The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.

The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.

Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”

Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.

Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands. Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.

“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”

“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”

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