Fitbit’s Bid For Female Business
Not bragging, but I was a Fitbit early adapter. I got my first fitness wristband in June 2014, before any of my friends.
Four years later, I never leave the house without that unsightly plastic device on my wrist. When my Fitbit needs charging, I sit in a chair and stare at it while it’s plugged into the wall. No way I’m taking a single step that doesn’t register.
OCD? Maybe a little.
Here’s the thing: Fitbit has added a number of features over the last four years and I’ve celebrated every one of them.
The resting heart rate tracker, for instance. The sleep surveillance tool. Even that annoying little alarm that vibrates at 10 minutes before the hour to remind users to get up and take 250 steps.
Genius. All of them.
On Tuesday I checked my FitBit “dashboard” and saw a new feature: “Female Health: Tracking and Trends.” The icon looked suspiciously like a drop of blood, but I didn’t notice.
Oooh, I’m a female and I like good health, this should be fun, I thought as I clicked on the droplet.
Silly me. The new feature is - how shall I put this delicately? - aimed at younger women.
It’s a menstrual tracker. It also tracks cramps and headaches. All this information is stored - somewhere - and you can show it to your doctor if he or she needs a very detailed account of the workings of your lady parts.
Best of all, there’s now a Fitbit alarm to notify you when it’s tampon time!
How did women manage to survive for so long without charting the natural rhythms of their bodies on a spreadsheet?
Of course, to digitalize your cycle, you must first answer an array of highly personal questions, which the Fitbit folks swear they will not share.
Uh-huh. Where have we heard THAT before?
And where is all this headed? Who knows. Perhaps Fitbit will partner with Amazon to deliver a load of Midol and Tampax to doorsteps before women even know they’re needed. Maybe they'll surprise crampy ladies with a box of chocolates. And a heating pad.
Shoot, Fitbit could eventually offer to send PMS alerts to spouses and boyfriends warning them that they're entering dangerous territory and might want to go camping in the woods for a few days.
Look, I get it. Fitbit is trying to gin up sales among women. And some people want a computerized record of absolutely everything.
Me, I’m going to delete the female health feature and say goodbye to the little drop of blood.
When Fitbit unveils the cellulite, turkey neck and wrinkle tracker, though, I'm in.