In October of 2013 we wrote about the latest fitness tracking device from Fitbit, the Force, which was similar to their previous Flex tracker, but instead had an improved, OLED display and an altimeter. However, despite launching in the US at that time, and promises to ship down under in early 2014, the company has today announced that they are recalling all Fitbit Force devices due to reports of rashes caused by the device.
Skin irritations caused by the device were originally linked by independent studies to a common allergic reaction to nickel, which the company said in January 2014 was from “a component of the surgical-grade steel used in the Fitbit Force.”
Despite offering refunds to affected customers at that time, the company has today announced a complete recall, promising to improve or completely change the way the device is made. The device will no longer be sold. They’ve also revealed that 1.7 percent of users have reported adverse reactions to wearing the device, while at least 500 users have reported issues through the official Fitbit forums. New reports also found that the skin irritations were due to allergic contact dermatitis, caused by the adhesives and surgical grade stainless steel surrounding and contained within, the Force.
US customers are now able to request a refund through the companies dedicated call centers, while Australian customers will never see the Force in retail stores. Or at least, the Force we know today. Fitbit promises that their next-generation tracker is coming, and that they’ll announce it soon. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a complete rethink of their wristband lineup, with Fitbit Flex users also reporting less widespread, but still active issues with the nickel in the band. Stay tuned for any further changes to the Australian Fitbit lineup as they happen.