The Ionic needs to be a big product for Fitbit. Sure, the company’s CEO assured me that it’s not make or break, but after years of research and development and tens of millions in acquisitions, Fitbit needs a hit. The company’s hedging its bets a bit by bringing on third party launch partners like Starbucks and Pandora for its new app store, and is teaming up one key company for a limited version of the smartwatch.
Starting next year, Fitbit will be offering an Adidas-branded special edition of the smartwatch. The details are pretty scant on precisely what the partnership means, but the whole thing suggests some pretty unavoidable comparisons to Apple’s long-standing partnership with Nike that gave us last year’s Apple Watch Nike+.
The two devices even look quite a bit alike, owing to the perforated silicone sport bands that triggered at least one staff member’s previously undiagnosed trypophobia when we tried it out last fall. The image also implies a customized, Adidas-branded watch UI, again akin to the Apple Watch/Nike model.
According to Fitbit, the special edition will, “leverage Adidas’ robust performance program expertise,” which suggests that the shoe company will provide customized versions of the on-board personal training the Ionic will deliver later this fall.
It seems like a pretty mutually beneficial situation for all parties — Fitbit gets a little more added cache in the sports world by partnering with one of its best known brands, and Adidas gets another opportunity to dip its toes into the tech world. Hopefully the companies will follow Apple and Nike’s lead and not attempt to charge a premium for that branding.