Fitbug Challenges Fitbit, Offers $50 Activity Tracker [CES 2013]

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CES 2013 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – UK-based Fitbug is new to the U.S., and makes gadgets very similar to Fitbit — but they weren’t shy about letting us know they were the first to come up with the idea.

“We were first.” Fergus Kee, Fitbug’s Executive Chairman, stopped short of actually saying fitness gadget-maker Fitbit is a wholesale clone of his company — but he got pretty close.

“All we can say is that it was remarkably similar to what we had,” says Kee, in a lilting Yorkshire-Irish accent, referring to the kind of suddenly popular activity-recording gadgets both firms (and now a few others) produce.

Both use accelerometers to track steps, and both feed the data to your mobile device via Bluetooth. But Kee says even the device’s names — and even elements of the typeface used for both logos — is very similar.

Regardless of any similarity, Fitbug’s Orb is just $50, which is $10 less than Fitbit’s least expensive activity tracker, the Fitbit Zip — except that the Orb doesn’t have a screen, where the Zip does. Also, the Fitbug’s coaching functions are only available with a monthly subscription, though the Orb comes with a year’s worth.

Fitbug is also rolling out a Bluetooth-equipped scale and blood-pressure monitor. The scale will sell for $80; no word on pricing for the blood-pressure monitor.

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About the author

Eli MilchmanWhen he was eight, Eli Milchman came home from frolicking in the Veld one day and was given an Atari 400. Since then, his fascination with technology has made him an intrepid early adopter of whatever charming new contraption crosses his path — which explains why he's Cult of Mac's test editor-at-large. He calls San Francisco home, where he works as a journalist and photographer. Eli has contributed to the pages of Wired.com and BIKE Magazine, among others. Hang with him on Twitter.

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