Last week, Fitbit unveiled its latest smartwatch/fitness tracker hybrid at an event in New York City. It’s the Fitbit Versa. And it looks much, much different than the Ionic that the company unveiled last year. The Versa actually looks a lot like a Pebble, but Fitbit says that the Versa was not inspired by the Pebble or some prototype that Pebble had laying around when Fitbit bought them. Instead, Fitbit says that this design was an evolution of something it had been working on for quite some time.
Fitbit’s vice president of Design, Jonah Becker has insisted that the similarities between the Versa and a Pebble are just coincidental. Noting to Wareable this week that the value of the Pebble acquisition “was not about hardware”. And even mentioned that it never crossed the team’s mind that it was similar to the Pebble. Becker also explained that the Ionic has a strong design relationship with Fitbit’s other products like the Blaze, Alta, Alta HR and Charge 2. And that the Ionic is more of a “performance product” meant for those that are hardcore runners or always working out. Meanwhile the Versa is about looks and the design.
With the Versa, the design team designed the Versa first, then fit in all of its sensors and internals into the body. This is why the Versa is much smaller, and thinner than the Ionic. Which by many people’s standards, is a fairly large smartwatch. The Versa is much smaller, in contrast, and will likely sell better for those that don’t need high-performing GPS like the Ionic. Becker also said that the team spent a ton of time studying timepieces both watches and clocks on the wall, and that’s how the team came up with the “squircle” design on the Versa. Fitbit went with a square display inside a squircle shaped face, so that it could give you more information on your wrist rather than just the time. Fitbit didn’t want to create just a simple watch for you to have on your wrist, but one that can show you all of your fitness numbers for the day or even the week. And that’s why a square display with a somewhat thick bezel around the sides of it was done.