Product innovations designed with women in mind can go one of two ways: terrible, or stand-out-success.
By terrible, I mean tone-deaf and what-the-hell-were-you-thinking, as in the case of Doritos for ladies and Bic for Her.
By stand-out success, I mean products that address such an obvious need, that it's surprising it's taken this long to bring them to market. That's the case with FitBit's latest smartwatch, the FitBit Versa.
FitBit Versa is the company's new smartwatch for the masses. It's smaller than the Apple Watch, and more affordable, too. (Apple Watches start at $249, and FitBit Versa is $199.) FitBit is claiming a four day battery life, which is a result of stripping battery-draining bells and whistles the average smartwatch wearer likely doesn't need, such as GPS. It's a little bit more robust than your average activity tracker, but not designed for athlete-level data crunching. It's got music, health tracking and a suite of apps.
But the real star of FitBit Versa is a never-before-seen piece of smartwatch software: female health tracking. Starting this summer, FitBit Versa will include this feature to log periods, track your cycle and gauge ovulation through the smartwatch and FitBit app.
"Connect the dots between what's going on with your cycle and what's going on your life," explains a video on how it works. "With a better understanding of what's happening in your body and when it's going to happen, you'll know what to pack for your next vacation, when you gotta get some gym time and when it's go time."
While several iOS-compatible apps exist that women can use to track periods on their Apple Watch, this is different because it's fully integrated into FitBit's software and other tracking features. It will help users understand how their overall health is impacted. For example, tracking menstrual cycles with FitBit Versa will help watch wearers understand changes in their sleep patterns and energy.
Financially speaking, last year was a pretty doom and gloomy for FitBit. Their stock fell 22 percent, according to investing site Motley Fool. In 2017, the company also purchased the struggling Pebble, the "original" smartwatch that was at once the most funded Kickstarter campaign. With lower-priced fitness trackers and higher-priced smartwatches entering the market, FitBit was flailing a bit.
But it's possible this middle-market smartwatch -- with health tracking features that people actually want and will put to use -- could bring FitBit back. Perhaps they'll emerge victorious in the smartwatch wars of 2018.