I once held a blue and gold box on my desk, which held almost two dozen workouts that I've worn and tested over the years. A colleague called it my wearables cemetery .
When I got tired of Fitbit, Samsung Gear Fit, Garmin Vivosport or what was wrapped around my wrist, I would throw it in the box. I have never found a reason to have a tracker for more than a few months. I want to get my heart rate, confirm that I need more sleep at night and burn a predictable amount of calories every time. Before long I want to know what my health tracker would tell me so I would stop using it and continue.
I'm almost not alone. And there is a problem for Fitbit and other companies that sell these devices.
"The market has some workout training," said Weston Henderek, an expert on the subject of the market research firm NDP Group. "A few years ago, it was a very trendy thing to wear a tracker. The category is still growing, but people are gravitational against smartwatches."
The basics of reversing this trend make companies work out slimmer and pack them with features like alerts, audio playback and longer battery life. Giving people more data about their health can also make the devices attractive for employers and health insurance companies.
Related: Can a week of wearables improve your health?
Fitbit's Charge 3 tracker, announced Monday and preview by CNN last week, checks all these boxes. It's so easy that you may forget it, it takes seven days for a cost and the design does not shout, "Yes, I am count my steps!"
Fitbit calls Charge 3 Ferrari by training trackers. I want to say that it's a Toyota Camry: Nice enough on the eyes, reliable, and at $ 149, relatively reasonable when they hit the store shelves in October.
And, like a Camry, you can choose some upgrades. The base comes in black or rose gold and you can choose a $ 30 silicone ribbon from a rainbow of colors. Pay a little more and you get an exclusive net or leather strap. You can also get one that supports Fitbit Pay for $ 169.
The water repellent charge 3 sheds the heavy push-to-navigate interface of previous models for an intuitive touchscreen. And the almost invisible haptic feedback button on the page is a nice upgrade from the disc based on Fitbit Charge 2. It supports multiple push notifications, trailing angles in the pool, and lets you set training goals like burning 300 calories during a workout or shedding 10 pounds.
But Charge 3 lacks built-in wireless connection, so you need to have your phone nearby to use some features like GPS. It's bad news anyone wanting to track running routes without changing the smartphone, but Fitbit said adding GPS would have meant a clunkier device and a shorter battery life – two things the consumers definitely do not want. If you want GPS on board, it costs ionic $ 249.
Related: A Robot Bed Cradled My Baby to Sleep for Several Months
All this is the standard price for exercise tractors. What sets Charge 3 apart is the Sp02 sensor – stenography for peripheral capillary oxygen saturation. It measures your oxygen level in the blood. Together with Fitbit's heart rate tracking and sleep monitoring, trifecta provides a snapshot of your overall health. An analysis feature detects some unusual developments in your data, such as a high heart rate, and makes related suggestions, such as trying a meditation app to reduce stress.
The truly remarkable thing about the new Fitbit is the price. The Garmin Fenix 5x has a similar oxygen sensor for blood, but costs $ 649. Providing so much for so little can extend Charge 3's appeal to more people, and even businesses.
"Some insurance companies and employers give away or discount these devices to employees and ultimately help reduce health costs," said Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC. The lower price makes it easier to do, he said, and companies can even buy them in bulk, and drive prices further.
Trainers caught fast, jumped from 3 million sold in 2013 to an impressive 45 million last year. But it will go slowly from now on, even though healthcare professionals begin to share training traces. IDC expects Fitbit, Garmin and the rest to sell 47 million units per year by 2021.
Apple has 22% of the market, mainly due to increasing interest in smartwatches and advanced features such as mobile connectivity. Fitbit trails behind 14% with Xiaomi not far behind.
"Many players have already gone out or not so prominent, so the company is in a good position to get a bigger share," said Urbani.
And with all the additional features, the 3 left can not end up being buried in a box.
CNNMoney (New York) First published August 20, 2018: 8:59 ET