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Fitbit recalls Ionic smartwatch for burning fat – literally

'Please stop using your device'

Fitbit recalled all models of its Ionic smartwatch on Tuesday after a small number of wearers were left with burns when the gadgets' lithium-ion batteries overheated.

Fitbit Ionic was made between 2017 and 2020 and comes in a variety of colors, including burnt orange, charcoal, and smoke gray. On top of monitoring things like heart rate and sleep, the Ionic supported contactless payments, provided guidance to stay fit and healthy, and it boasted of a four-day battery life, longer than most smartwatches of the time.

But its lithium-ion batteries have proven prone to overheating. The majority of injuries were reported in the US, where there were 78 cases, including two third-degree burns and four second-degree burns, according to America's Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Another 40 burn cases were reported outside the US. In total, Fitbit received at least 174 reports of batteries overheating worldwide. Fitbit advised customers to "please stop using your device." Taking it off when it gets hot might also be an idea.

"Customer safety is always Fitbit's top priority and out of an abundance of caution, we are conducting a voluntary recall of Fitbit Ionic smartwatches," a spokesperson from the Google-owned company confirmed to The Register.

"We received a very limited number of injury reports – the totals in the CPSC announcement represent less than 0.01 per cent of units sold – of the battery in Fitbit Ionic smartwatches overheating, posing a burn hazard. These incidents are very rare and this voluntary recall does not impact other Fitbit smartwatches or trackers."

It is estimated about a million Fitbit Ionic devices had been sold in the US, and roughly 693,000 were sold internationally. Customers are being refunded $299 for sending back their smartwatches; they will also receive a discount of 40 per cent off select Fitbit devices, should they choose to purchase one. ®

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