Fitbit Plans a New Mobile Payments-Capable Wearable Device

May 5, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The wearable device trend seems to have lost a lot of ground from its heyday, and without much new going on in the field lately, it would have been easy to think this concept lost for good.

That’s not the case, though, as Fitbit is planning an upcoming wearable device that will come out with mobile payments capability, a first-of-its-kind advance for the company, according to reports.

The device itself is set to launch this fall, and would have been available sooner had it not been for a production delay that hurt the project’s launch. It was actually planned for right about now, if not a little earlier—spring of this year—so as to get it out ahead of whatever Apple was planning to bring out as part of its standard fall announcement, according to the ever-popular “source familiar with the matter”.

Called “Higgs” within the company, and said to be similar to the Blaze, the new device will have many of the standard fitness tracker systems, like built-in GPS, heart rate monitors, and the ability to not only play music via Pandora, but also store some of that music for later play, ostensibly when out of connection range.

It’s set to sell at around $300, and will even be able to switch wristbands for different colors depending on need, desire or color coordination.

The part that means something to us, however, is that it will also be able to handle contactless mobile payments systems, likely able to allow users to simply swipe the wristband—or the wrist it’s on—in the direction of a payment terminal once the appropriate amount of setup has been done.

Given that Fitbit’s sales have been straggling for some time now—a good chunk of reason why you don’t hear much about wearable devices these days—there was quite a bit of word that suggested Fitbit would bring out some breed of smartwatch before too much longer had passed.

With a rough fourth quarter—and for a consumer device to have a rough fourth quarter, when everyone’s shopping for holiday gift giving, it means likely disaster in the making—Fitbit needed a winner to bring it back.

Whether this will be that winner is unclear, but Fitbit’s not going out without a fight.