Maria Montero

Fitbit’s new fitness tracker is for employees only …

Fitbit has a new fitness tracker, but it can’t be bought in stores.

The company quietly cracked the Inspire on Friday, launching its first product that is available only to corporate employees and health insurance members. The idea is to offer a fully subsidized wearable device that helps the company delve deeper into the corporate and business world.

The new devices are available as a bracelet with the option of a clip. The basic tracker features are pretty standard and include activity and sleep tracking, calorie burns, and alerts from a connected phone. A higher specification model includes heart rate tracking, GPS for fitness tracking, and deeper sleep analysis. Prices are not displayed on the website, but eligible customers will not have to pay.

In an interview with CNBC, CEO James Park said the company has 6.8 million users on wellness programs that include Fitbit devices through employers, health plans, or hospital programs. By offering the Inspire, which is the Fitbit The cheapest device yet: the goal is to increase that number even more. In fact, Park said that Fitbit is a covered fitness benefit in 42 Medicare Advantage plans in 27 US states while working with insurance companies like UnitedHealth.

It makes sense that Fitbit is moving into that space because the consumer market is tough. Wearables are no longer an early novelty and the competition is fierce. Apple It dominates at the high end with the Apple Watch, which has doubled in health features, while at the cheaper end, companies like Xiaomi and its partner Huami offer basic trackers starting at just $ 30.

Fitbit went public in 2015. While its share price rose to $ 6.48 on Friday on this news, it is still dropping massively from its list price of $ 20 and the first-day price of $ 29.68. Today, the company’s market capitalization is around $ 1.6 billion.