Fitbit Recalls Ionic Smartwatches Over Burn Risk

Fitness device maker Fitbit is recalling over a million smartwatch devices after reports of injuries, including third- and second-degree burns.

The recall was announced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Wednesday, and concerns the Fitbit Ionic smartwatch.

According to the CPSC, “the lithium-ion battery in the Ionic smartwatch can overheat, posing a burn hazard.”

Smartwatch recall

It said that approximately 1 million Fitbit Ionic smartwatch were sold in the US, with another 693,000 sold internationally.

There is no remedy to the overheating lithium-ion battery, other than a refund for owners of affected models, coupled with a discount offer from Fitbit, on returning the product.

“This recall only involves the Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch,” said the CPSC. “It was sold with a polyurethane band and has a 1.4-inch color LCD screen.”

Affected Ionic models carry the model number (FB503) on the back of the device near where the band attaches.

“Fitbit has received at least 115 reports in the United States (and 59 reports internationally) of the battery in the watch overheating with 78 reports of burn injuries in the United States including two reports of third-degree burns and four reports of second-degree burns (and 40 reports of burn injuries internationally),” said the recall notice.

The total reports in the CPSC announcement represented less than 0.01 percent of the units sold, Fitbit is quoted as saying by Reuters.

“These incidents are very rare and this voluntary recall does not impact other Fitbit smartwatches or trackers,” the fitness tracker maker said in a statement.

Priced at $299, the Ionic tracks activity, heart rate and sleep.

Fitbit stopped production of the Ionic watch in 2020, and the US regulator has asked consumers to stop using the device.

Google-owned

Fitbit of course is now owned by Google.

Google’s had announced its intention to purchase Fitbit for $2.1bn (£1.63bn) back in November 2019, but almost immediately concerns were raised the deal would give Google access to potentially sensitive data about people’s health and lifestyle.

Those concerns prompted European Union antitrust officials to begin an official investigation. The EU then extended the investigation.

Google made increased concessions to European Union regulators in October 2020.

The deal to acquire fitness device maker Fitbit finally won EU antitrust approval in December 2020.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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