Fitbit’s CEO discusses the company’s subscription future

by admin August 30, 2019 at 1:13 pm
Fitbit’s CEO discusses the company’s subscription future – TechCrunch

James Park talks Fitbit’s first decade and its new premium play

At a small event in Manhattan this week, Fitbit laid out its future for the press. Tellingly, the event was far more focused on the company’s software play, with the big hardware announcement feeling almost rushed at the end.

Along with an increased focus on healthcare providers and enterprise, much of its revenue strategy will be tied up in Fitbit Premium, a $10 a month subscription service. The offering marks a major shift for a company whose identity has been so closely tied to hardware for its first decade of existence.

The announcement comes a year and a half after the release of Versa. The smartwatch has helped the company begin to right the ship after several quarters’ worth of financial struggle. And while last quarter found Fitbit’s valuation stumbling a bit on the heels of a disappointing performance by the Versa Lite, the company says it continues to be committed to its core hardware offering.

Following the announcement of Fitbit Premium and the Versa 2 smartwatch, we sat down with CEO and co-founder James Park to discuss the company’s path and what the future holds for Fitbit.

The state of Fitbit

Brian Heater: The flow of today’s briefing was different. In previous years, the company’s always led with hardware.

James Park: You noticed that it was pretty conscious, and I think it’s just to reinforce the fact that what we’re working on is not just about hardware anymore. But it’s equally important that the services component is an important part of our strategy, and also an important part of an overall solution, again, people healthier.

ntn”,”protected”:false},”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

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will unveil the next iPhone September 10″,”content”:”rendered”:”

Invites for the next big Apple event have just landed in press mailboxes everywhere, confirming the rumored September 10 date. Invites for the event, which is set for Steve Jobs Theater on the company’s shiny new Cupertino campus, note that the event is “by innovation only.” It is a small theater, after all.n

The invite features a swirling multi-color homage to the 80s Apple logo, albeit in a subtler pastel hue, which may point to colorful new hardware.n

The centerpiece of the event will, of course, be the iPhone 11, which is rumored to arrive in three different flavors: The standard 11 (replacing the budget XR) and two 11 Pro models, set to replace the XS and XS Max, respectively. The scheme would mark a kind of new approach for the company, which has struggled to grapple with declining smartphone sales along with the rest of the industry.n

Offering a lower-price-point flagship could help Apple appeal to consumers who have been put off by increasing prices on the high-end units, which have routinely topped out well over $1,000. It could also help Apple in increasingly important markets like China and India, which currently stand as numbers one and two in global smartphone sales, respectively.n

A number of new features have been rumored for the new handsets, including a triple-camera array with an ultra-wide lens, a new A13 chip and wireless power sharing u00e0 la the Samsung Galaxy series, which would fit nicely alongside the latest AirPods. This being Apple’s last big hardware push before the holidays, there’s sure to be plenty more on the docket, as well.n

I’ll be RSVPing as soon as I’m done with this post, so we’ll see you on the ground in Cupertino September 10 at 10AM sharp.n”,”protected”:false,”excerpt”:”rendered”:”

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Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. He worked for a number of leading tech publications, including Engadget, PCMag, Laptop, and Tech Times, where he served as the Managing Editor. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Beast and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.”,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1461345979/xynitsmpgmmobpekzxkg.jpg”,”twitter”:”bheater”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/699688″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”]],”author”:[“id”:699688,”name”:”Brian Heater”,”url”:””,”description”:””,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/brian-heater/”,”slug”:”brian-heater”,”avatar_urls”:”24″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/eb77d830ad404e16ee7a4c7000b5f49d?s=24&d=identicon&r=g”,”48″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/eb77d830ad404e16ee7a4c7000b5f49d?s=48&d=identicon&r=g”,”96″:”https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/eb77d830ad404e16ee7a4c7000b5f49d?s=96&d=identicon&r=g”,”links”:”twitter”:”https://twitter.com/bheater”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brian-heater/1/a92/94″,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/brian-heater”,”position”:”Hardware Editor”,”cbDescription”:”

Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. He worked for a number of leading tech publications, including Engadget, PCMag, Laptop, and Tech Times, where he served as the Managing Editor. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Beast and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.”,”cbAvatar”:”https://crunchbase-production-res.cloudinary.com/image/upload/v1461345979/xynitsmpgmmobpekzxkg.jpg”,”twitter”:”bheater”,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/699688″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users”]],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“id”:1875585,”date”:”2019-08-29T09:06:58″,”slug”:”screen-shot-2019-08-29-at-12-05-30-pm”,”type”:”attachment”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/29/apple-will-unveil-the-next-iphone-september-10/screen-shot-2019-08-29-at-12-05-30-pm/”,”title”:”rendered”:”Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 12.05.30 PM”,”author”:699688,”license”:””,”authors”:[699688],”caption”:”rendered”:”

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UK VCs are managing the risk of a ‘no deal’ Brexit”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Grab your economic zombie mask: A Halloween “no deal” Brexit is careening into view.u00a0New prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged that the country will leave the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal u2014 “do or die” as he put it. A year earlier as the foreign secretary, he used an even more colorful phrase to skewer diplomatic concern about the impact of a hard Brexit on business u2014 reportedly condensing his position to a pithy expletive: “Fuck business.”n

It was only a few years ago during the summer of 2016, following the shock result of the UK’s in/out EU referendum, the government’s aspiration was to leave in a “smooth and orderly” manner as the prelude to a “close and special” future trading partnership, as then PM Theresa May put it. A withdrawal deal was negotiated but repeatedly rejected by parliament. The PM herself was next to be despatched.n

Now, here we are. The U.K. has arrived at a political impasse in which the nation is coasting toward a Brexit cliff edge. We’re at the brink here, with domestic politics turned upside down, because “no deal” is the only leverage left for “do or die” brexiteers that parliament can’t easily block.n

Ironicu00a0because there’s no majority in parliament for “no deal.” But the end of the Article 50 extension period represents a legal default u2014 a hard deadline that means the U.K. will soon fall out of the EU unless additional action is taken. Of course time itself can’t be made to grind to a halt. So “no deal” is the easy option for a government that’s made doing anything else to sort Brexit really really hard.n

After three full years of Brexit uncertainty, the upshot for U.K. business is there’s no end in sight to even the known unknowns. And now a clutch of unknown unknowns seems set to pounce come Halloween when the country steps into the chaos of leaving with nada, as the current government says it must.n

So how is the U.K. tech industry managing the risk of a chaotic exit from the European Union?u00a0The prevailing view among investors about founders is that Brexit means uncertain business as usual. “Resilience is the mother of entrepreneurship!” was the almost glib response of one VC asked how founders are coping.n

“This is no worse than the existential dread that most founders feel every day about something or other,” said another, dubbing Brexit “just an enormous distraction.” And while he said the vast majority of founders in the firm’s portfolio would rather the whole thing was cancelled u2014 “most realize it’s not going to be so they just want to get on.”n

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