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Home > Fitness, Gadgetry, SciTech, Sport > FitBit: It shipped… and then it didn’t.

FitBit: It shipped… and then it didn’t.

December 30th, 2009

The FitBit oozes cool in both looks and function.

Monday night I got the email thousands of fitness freaks and/or gadget geeks have long been awaiting: my FitBit, ordered months ago, was finally ready to ship.  True, I haven’t waited 13 months on pre-order status like some, but I was jazzed to finally be off the list and ready to ship.  Unfortunately, upon checking my status manually to see if my Bit had actually shipped, I discovered that there was a problem charging my credit card… meaning that I’m still not off pre-order status.

No, despite the wait, my credit card did not expire while waiting for this to ship and charge.  I’ve yet to figure out why it didn’t charge, but I’m not at the point where I am ready to say this order is cursed, but I just want my dang FitBit.


For those uninitiated, the FitBit is a gadget phenom… probably the hardest to get, mass marketed tech toy of the 2009 holiday season.  It was unveiled at TechCrunch 50 about 15 months ago by James Park and Eric Friedman to absolutely rave reviews.  The sleek, form functioning, wireless device used three dimensional accelerometer technology (like that used in a Wii remote) to serve as a sort of uber-pedometer and body tracker.  It measures your general level of activity, the steps you take, the amount of sedentary time you spend, the calories you burn and even the quality of your sleep.  For a guy who works at a desk and has a long-standing history of sleep disorders, sounds heaven sent.

The FitBit isn’t without its question marks.  There is some worry about its ability to survive falls, and its not really waterproof.  It provides you with raw data, but you’ve got to turn that into something more.  And it’s had numerous production delays and some refits on its technology since its prototype debut.  The New York Times recently went over some of those issues with a recent article by Jenna Wortham.  I considered those delays and the competing products mentioned in the delays article and this additional review article, also by the Times.

Those competing products include Phillips’ Direct Life (a simplified version of the FitBit), the Lifesource XL-20 Wireless Activity Monitor (another poor man’s FitBit),  the bodybugg Personal Calorie Management System (a popular system that partnered with 24 Hour Fitness, but not Equinox), and the WakeMate (which specifically deals with sleep and serves as an on arm alarm clock).  The WakeMate, in particular, was intriguing, but ultimately I chose to stick with the coolest gadget on the block.  Now if only it arrives sometime soon.

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