Fitbit CEO: Smartwatches ‘lack a purpose’ right now

Fitbitsurge1
Fitbit recently introduced three new fitness wristband trackers — one of which the company is calling a “superwatch” for the ability to get smart notifications like incoming calls and text messages on its screen.But let’s not be mistaken: The Fitbit Surge is not a smartwatch, even though some are calling it that. True to Fitbit’s core of being a fitness tracker before anything else, the Surge will monitor steps taken, calories burned, continuous heart rate and more. And yes, it can display incoming calls and texts, too — but unlike smartwatches, you aren’t able to respond, check emails or watch videos.

SEE ALSO: The Apple Watch Is Poised to Wipe Out Fitness Trackers

The product — intended for more serious athletes, not necessarily casual health enthusiasts — is priced at $249 and will launch in early 2015, around the time we’re expecting to see the Apple Watch debut.

Fitbit Surge

The Fitbit Surge “superwatch”
 

IMAGE: MASHABLE, LUKE LEONARD

While Fitbit is stepping into “smarter” territories, co-founder and CEO James Park told Mashable the company doesn’t have any plans to launch a fully functional smartwatch of its own — at least not one that would compete with the likes of Samsung, Motorola and Apple.

The reason? He’s not sold on them.

“We still think that the smartwatch in general lacks a purpose in life and that is what is holding consumers back a little with adoption,” Park said.“We still think that the smartwatch in general lacks a purpose in life and that is what is holding consumers back a little with adoption,” Park said. “We think something like the Fitbit Surge that is focused on fitness with the top features of a smartwatch, like caller ID, is the best blending of both worlds.”This is a bold statement for a CEO who’s working in an evolving industry. Many experts believe the Apple Watch is poised to wipe out fitness trackers. Just like e-readers were, for the most part, replaced by the iPad and other tablets that could do the same thing, everything you might find embedded within a wristband fitness tracker will ultimately be possible with the Apple Watch. But smartwatches do even more: they typically let you check email, answer calls and even watch videos directly from the device.

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6 Startups With the Most Humble Beginnings and the Greatest Successes B

Almost every big business today began as a startup–Apple, Google, Starbucks, you name it. In the beginning, most of them also had a shoestring budget and little investor interest. In fact, they were probably at a disadvantage compared to today’s startups. Even 10 years ago (let alone 20 or 30), “angel investors,” “crowd funding,” and shows like “Shark Tank” were not well known or didn’t exist. Startups from long ago had to build a reputation and get investors the old-fashioned way–with almost no digital tech for help.

If you’re thinking of starting a company or you’re already knee-deep in the process, you could probably use a little inspiration. Check out these startups that truly “started from the bottom”–and now find themselves more profitable and valuable than most companies.

1. Starbucks: The very first Starbucks opened its doors in Seattle back in 1971, founded by three former students from the University of San Francisco. One was a writer and the other two were teachers. They didn’t brew coffee or sell pastries–they simply sold beans after being inspired by roasting legend Alfred Peet. Eight years later, it was a savvy former Starbucks employee who ended up buying the company and helping to turn it into the mega chain it is today.

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CurrentC Is The Big Retailers’ Clunky Attempt To Kill Apple Pay And Credit Card Fees

Long before Apple Pay, big brick-and-mortar retail chains were conspiring to sidestep the typical 2% to 3% fees they’re charged by credit card companies when consumers pay with credit. A company called MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), spearheaded by Walmart, was started to build a mobile payment solution that would become an app called CurrentC that’s preparing to launch, but is already in the app stores.

Rather than NFC, CurrentC uses QR codes displayed on a cashier’s screen and scanned by the consumer’s phone or vice versa to initiate and verify the transaction. The system is also designed to automatically apply discounts, use loyalty programs, and charge purchases to a variety of payment methods without passing sensitive financial data to the merchant.

CurrentC Signup Loyalty Scan

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8 Leadership Lessons From Quarterback Gurus

Superb business wisdom often comes from non-business sources.

The definitive example is Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a 2,000-year-old book on military strategy which still resonates with entrepreneurs. A comparable crossover is about to happen with Bruce Feldman’s new book, The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks. Football fans will buy it expecting insider’s access to the high-stakes world of quarterback coaching. What they’ll get–in addition to high-concept analysis of football’s most vital position–is a trove of insights on leadership and talent development.

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Sprung From The Ashes Of Formspring, Spring.me Raises $5M To Create The “Friendliest Social Network”

Spring.me, the new social network that was previously Formspring, has raised a total of $5 million in debt and equity seed funding from investors including Right Click Capital, Tank Stream Ventures, Nextec Strategic Capital, and Rubicon Project Founder Craig Roah. The company plans to use the funding to expand Spring.me in the U.S., where it just launched.

Formspring’s demise was due in part to the site’s accidental role in faciliating cyberbullying. Though Spring.me, which currently claims five million regular visitors, acquired the Formspring website and database, it wants to create a completely different reputation for itself by becoming the world’s “friendliest social network.” The site lets users engage in Q&A discussions and group chats, share photos and opinion polls, and send private messages.

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Slack Is Raising Another Round At Up To A $1B Valuation

Slack, the enterprise collaboration platform co-founded by Stewart Butterfield of Flickr fame, continues to defy its namesake: we have heard from sources that the company is raising a new round of funding at a valuation of between $800 million and $1 billion, just six months after raising nearly $43 million.

The total raise is said to be eight figures, and Sequoia and KPCB are participating, our sources tell us, although the company has been talking to multiple other VCs. The Information has also reported the rumors.

Asked for confirmation on the funding, Butterfield would not comment directly except to say that 2014 has been “crazy,” and that it would be very likely that his company would raise money some time “in the next six years.”

(Butterfield is known for his sometimes colorful ways with words.)

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