Fitbit launches fitness-focused Blaze smartwatch at CES 2016

CES 2016: wearable technology company Fitbit has released a smartwatch with customisable straps and frames at the CES tech fair in Las Vegas, which officially opens today (+ movie).

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

Like the San Francisco company's existing line of activity-tracking wristbands, the Blaze smartwatch is geared towards fitness and exercise.

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

It comes with a variety of interchangeable strap, frame and display options, so users can personalise their product.

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

"One of the first things we learned in this industry is that fitness is personal – and if something isn't your style, you won't wear it," said Fitbit CEO and co-founder, James Park.

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

"With Fitbit Blaze, we pushed the boundaries of what's possible to create a beautiful, versatile device that can be customised to fit your personal style – while packing a powerful fitness punch to help you reach your goals."

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

The device provides on-screen workout tips, heart-rate tracking and automatic exercise recognition.

It also has a number of features similar to the Apple Watch, which launched in 2014 to mixed reviews. Gadi Amit, who worked on the original Fitbit activity tracker, was among designers who criticised Apple's smartwatch last year. He previously spoke to Dezeen about how wearable technology needs to respond to emotional needs.

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

When linked to a compatible smartphone via Bluetooth, Blaze displays notifications of incoming calls, text messages and calendar alerts. Users can also answer calls with the device.

Activity stats like distance, pace and minute-mile split times can be gathered using the phone's GPS.

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"Fitbit Blaze delivers a combination of innovative features that were carefully selected with intention and purpose, designed to motivate and offer a fitness experience that is more effortless and more useful with advanced guidance and coaching," said Park.

Blaze's colour touchscreen can be adjusted to show different clock styles, and is surrounded by a square frame with chamfered corners.

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

Strap variations include different colours of rubber and leather, as well as stainless steel links.

Blaze is now available from select retailers and online for $199.95 (approximately £136). Global release is set for March 2016.

Fitbit Blaze smartwatch

CES 2016 runs from 6 to 9 January, though new products have been revealed since the beginning of the week. Also launched at the fair is a smart bra that gives the wearer workout tips and Yves Behar's redesign of the Kodak Super 8 film camera.