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Fitbit takes high road with new low-price devices

Fitbit has launched four new wearables aimed at making health and fitness more affordable and accessible to consumers.

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Fitbit has announced four new products – Fitbit Versa Lite Edition, Fitbit Inspire HR, Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Ace 2 – designed to help make health and fitness accessible to more consumers across the globe.

Fitbit said in a statement this week: “Consumers can choose the best device for their own journeys with leading health and fitness features at an affordable price. Beyond devices, the Fitbit platform offers users engaging software features, access to their holistic data, and connection to one of the largest global health and fitness social networks which helps to drive positive behavior change.”

Fitbit says it will also soon launch a major redesign to the Fitbit app so users can further personalise their dashboard, better understand their data, discover new content and easily connect with others on Fitbit’s social community.

Said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit: “ Since founding Fitbit almost 12 years ago, we’ve focused on making health fun and achievable for everyone – regardless of fitness level or goals. Today we have a growing, supportive community of more than 27 million active users around the world who are getting more active, sleeping better, reducing stress, managing weight and getting healthier from being ‘on Fitbit,’ which is a testament to the power of our platform and our consistent innovation across our devices, software features and mobile app experience.”

The wearables category continues to evolve and grow, with global shipments of wearable devices forecasted to reach 189 million units by 2022, up from 125 million units in 2018, according to IDC research. While growth is being driven by smartwatches, trackers are expected to remain an important part of the category overall. Fitbit believes this rapid growth provides a large opportunity to bring new consumers to the category by offering both smartwatch and tracker form factors that feel more accessible and are affordably priced.

“With our newest products, we’re delivering high-quality, easy-to-use wearables that are more affordable, so getting healthy can be accessible to people of all ages and activity levels – even those who have never tried a wearable,” said Park. “Bringing more users to the wearables category and growing our community of active users is a critical part of our strategy. We will continue to build on the Fitbit platform to provide a more personalised and valuable experience for our users through a paid premium service expected to launch later this year.”

Click here to read about the new Fitbit devices.

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Vodacom cuts cost of smallest bundle by 40%

The country’s largest mobile operator has kept to a promise made last month to slash the price of entry-level data packages

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Vodacom has cut the data price of its lowest-cost bundle by 40%, reducing the price of a 50MB 30-day bundle from R20 to to R12. This follows from the operator’s promise in March, when it announced a 33% cut in the cost of 1GB bundles, to reduce prices of all smaller bundles by up to 40%.

Vodacom’s various 30-day data bundle prices will be cut across all of its channels, with the new pricing as follows:

30-day bundle size New Price Reduction
50MB R12 40%
150MB R29 33%
325MB R55 33%
500MB R79 21%
1GB R99 34%
3GB R229 23%
5GB R349 14%
10GB R469 22%
20GB R699 31%

Vodacom confirmed it will provide free data to access essential services through Vodacom’s zero-rated platform ConnectU with immediate effect. The value of these initiatives, it says, is R2.7-billion over the next year.

“Vodacom can play a critical role in supporting society during this challenging time and we’re committed to doing whatever we can to help customers stay connected,” says Jorge Mendes, Chief Officer of Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit. “Since we started our pricing transformation strategy three years ago, our customers have benefitted from significant reductions in data prices and the cost of voice calls. Over the same period, we invested over R26 billion in infrastructure and new technologies, so our customers enjoy wider 2G, 3G and 4G coverage and vastly increased data speeds.”

The latest data reductions will complement the discounted bundle offers that will also be made available to prepaid customers in more than 2,000 less affluent suburbs and villages around the country. For qualifying communities to access further discounted voice and data deals, they need to click on the scrolling ConnectU banner on the platform via connectu.vodacom.co.za

ConnectU – which is a zero-rated platform – also went live this week. It will provide content aimed at social development and offers a variety of essential services for free. Learners and students enrolled in schools and universities can access relevant information for free, with no data costs. The ConnectU portal includes a search engine linked to open sources such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary as well as free access to job portals; free educational content on the e-School platform; free health and wellness information and free access to Facebook Flex, the low data alternative to Facebook that enables customers to stay socially connected.

Vodacom’s popular Just4You platform has been a significant contributor to the approximately 50% reduction in effective data prices over the past two years. Substantial cuts in out-of-bundle tariffs and the introduction of hourly, daily and weekly bundles with much lower effective prices have also driven increased value and affordability, resulting in R2-billion in savings for customers in 2019.

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OneBlade shaves price of electric precision

Electric razors and their blades are usually quite expensive. But the Philips OneBlade shaves the cost, writes SEAN BACHER

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Electric razors come in all shapes and forms and their prices vary as well. When your nearest electronic retail outlet opens again, you will be able to pay a small fortune for a wet and dry razor that cleans itself, shows you when it needs to be recharged, and tells you to replace the cleaning solution – all via a little LCD panel in the handle.

But does everyone want that? Does everyone need that? Surely there must be customers who want an easy-to-use, no-mess, no-fuss razor that gets the job done just as well as a “smart razor”?

With this in mind, Philips has launched its OneBlade wet and dry electric razor. The razor is dead simple to use. It comes with three stubble combs – 1mm, 3mm and 5 mm –  which can be clicked onto the head much like one would with a hair shaver. Should you want a really close shave, simply the combs off. I found this to be the most effective as I don’t have a beard.

The razor’s blade is the size of the striking side of a matchbox and has 90-degree angles all round. This offers precise shaving and, because of its small size, it is able to get just about anywhere on a person’s face.

The blade has a usage indicator that shows when it is time to replace the blade – usually after four months – and an additional blade is included in the box.

The OneBlade’s battery takes up to eight hours to charge, and will give up to 45 minutes shaving time.

Overall, the Philips OneBlade will give a man a comfortable and precise shave. Its battery life, combined with its size, makes it a perfect travel companion as it is no bigger than an electric toothbrush. Its relatively low price compared to other electric razors also counts in its favour.

The One Blade can be bought from most electronic retailers or can be ordered online from websites like takealot.com. The razor retails for R650 and a set of two new blades will cost around R450.

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