They say competition is good for business and good for customers. Otherwise, we will all end up using Microsoft's Windows and Office. Hmmm. Maybe that's not a good analogy.
Apple Watch had a lot of competition already on the streets when it debuted a few years ago. Samsung and Android were far ahead of Watch. What do you see today? Watch owns the watch portable space, but it is a competitor with something familiar. Fitbit Copycat.
Nylon Strap, Oh My!
Why did Samsung's version of smartwatch fail so badly? It came out before Apple Watch and Samsung had nothing to copy. That's what good copycats do. They copy constantly. Samsung executives thought they could hit Apple with an electronic tuna that could be attached to the wrist and call it a day.
It didn't work. Apple Watch was launched and improved quickly while everyone else who wanted to make a smart laptop went back to the drawing board so they could copy the Watch that Apple built. Here's a look at Fitbit Versa. Does this seem familiar to you?
It should appear from both design, watch bands and features that Fitbit just checked a list of Apple Watch features and stuffed them into a similar case and cut the price tag a bit.
$ 200 you get a black case with a black ribbon. Verso is a training and sleep track, a heart rate monitor, runs various applications including notifications, plays music and has four days of battery life.
Oh, and it's swimming. But more than anything, it looks like the Apple Watch, and it costs less.
Yes, it is an iPhone app that helps you track exercise and health. The dashboard sets goals. Sleep is tracked, including REM, and if you are a woman, that time of the month can also be tracked. Versa comes with nice reminders to keep you moving, an option to take part in a guided breathing session to find a moment of tranquility in a tattered world.
There are PurePulse heart rate sensors, on-screen workouts, more than 15 training modes, and, of course, GPS. Everything built in. If you are willing to spend a little more money on more expensive versions, you can pay with Versa using … insert drum roll here … Fitbit Pay.
They say that differentiation is a key component of product marketing, so when you're in full copy mode, how do you differentiate a new product from the industry leader? Price? Check. Clock Faces? Check. Build your own watch face? Check. Longer battery life? Check. Similar, but different, wristwatch? Check.
Versa's water resistance runs to 50 meters. Unlike the Watch, Versa is a size that fits everyone, but it comes with small and large bands. Pay more for the special edition aluminum case. All things considered, this could be the smartwatch that cuts to the Apple Watch market share. It's cheaper. Its different. But it's the same. And it has longer battery life.
What's not to like? It is the copycat method for research and development that has been done correctly.
If it works.