Don't expect Fitbit Inc.'s (FIT) first true smartwatch to dominate a field that includes established products from Apple Inc. (AAPL) , Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SSNLF) , Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) and others that use Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL) Android operating system.
However, Fitbit's new $299.95 wearable device, dubbed Ionic, will be able to take market share when it launches in October, Wedbush Securities Analyst Alicia Reese suggested in a report. It should also help Fitbit beat tepid guidance for 2017.
"We think Fitbit can take some market share from Apple, Samsung, and Garmin given its expertise and focus on the fitness tracking aspects of the smartwatch." Reese wrote.
The Ionic will include Fitbit's core fitness tracking with the ability to download songs or station playlists from Pandora Media Inc. (P) , track weather data, make payments and receive alerts about calls and other messages.
Get moving to your favorite workout music with @Fitbit and Pandora. No phones necessary.August 28, 2017
Sales of Fitbit's fitness trackers actually topped shipments of Apple Watches in the second quarter, according to Strategy Analytics. The Ionic is Fitbit's first true smart watch, however. Unlike its prior watch, the Blaze, it will be able to run third party apps.
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Fitbit has chosen a brutal time to try to crack the smartphone market.
Apple is expected to release the third edition of its Apple Watch in September, just as Samsung readies its new Gear S4 wearable. Fossil Group Inc. (FOSL) and Michael Kors Holdings LTD (KORS) plan smart watches based on Google's Android operating system this fall, and Movado Group Inc. (MOV) released three Android watches in August.
The Apple Watch 3 is expected to have an LTE hookup allowing it to connect to wireless networks, and will have a more diverse ecosystem of apps for health and other applications than Fitbit can offer yet.
"While we do not expect Fitbit to take significant market share from Apple, we think Fitbit could surpass its low 2H 2017 revenue guidance and our estimates," Reese wrote.
Fitbit lowered the bar substantially during its second-quarter earnings announcement in early August. The company told investors that full-year revenues would drop from $2.17 billion last year to between $1.55 billion and $1.7 billion for 2017--a drop of 22% to 29%.
If it is even moderately successful, the Ionic could breathe some life into Fitbit's drooping top line.
Shares of Fitbit were trading up 0.4% to $5.97 on Tuesday morning, but are down about 20% this year.