Small steps. Big impact.

THE FITBIT BLOG

Shipping Update

| 58 Comments

Hi Everyone,

I’ve been holding off on this update until I’ve gotten solid confirmation from our manufacturer. Here’s the update everyone has been waiting for. Fitbits will begin shipping from our manufacturer during the week of July 27th to our warehouse in northern California (about an hour drive from our office). We are shipping everything via Fedex Priority Air to get it to our warehouse as quickly as possible. The moment the shipment touches our warehouse, we plan on turning as many as we can around the the same day and shipping them out to you.

Have a lot of you been waiting a long time? Yes and I’m really sorry. However, we’ve worked closely with our manufacturer to come up with this final schedule and they (and we) are confident we can can hit it.

So what is happening between now and then:

Currently, there are 22+ plastic and metal pieces and 100+ electronic components that make up the Fitbit. Here’s renderings/outlines of some of the plastic and metal pieces:

Some parts

I really hate the metal pieces in the 3rd row / 2nd column 3rd row and the 1st row / 4th column. Those are our charging contacts. If you remember, we had charging reliability problems in our early prototypes and it took forever to get those contacts right.

Each of the plastic parts needs a mold created for it. A mold is essentially a large piece of steel that has a cavity carved into it. The cavity is the shape of the part that you need to make. This piece of steel can weigh 100+ lbs. Designing the mold and cutting the steel is a slow process. It can take 5-8 weeks to cut and polish the mold. Once the mold is created, it’s placed into an injection molding machine. During the injection molding process, melted plastic is injected into the mold at high pressure and the end of the process, the plastic part is formed inside the mold and ejected out.

Here’s a tool /mold. Note the complexity of the mold and all the pins sticking out. Those pins are used to “eject” the plastic part out of the mold.

Tooling / molds

Actual injection molding machine and video of injection molding process:

Injenction molding machine

For us, mold creation began a while back and the last molds will be finished by mid-June. There are a lot of parts and therefore a lot of molds. Once the molds are created, we do a production run, where the full quantity of parts will be produced. For each run, we occupy an injection molding machine and the manufacturer only has a limited number of them, so our run has be scheduled and interleaved with all of their other customers.

Also during this time, our manufacturer will be assembling our 3 circuit boards (2 go into the wearable Fitbit. 1 goes into the base station/charger). In parallel, we are designing and building test equipment to functionally test each board as it comes off the line. As each board is produced, it is placed into the test equipment where a series of tests are automatically run that measure voltages, currents, frequency, etc, to make sure that each component has been properly attached to the board and that there are no shorts or disconnects anywhere.

A key check-in date to see if we’re on track will be the week of June 29th. That is the week that we expect all parts to be completed and on-hand. For some of the parts, we’ve got our manufacturer to commit to 3 working shifts a day to meet our demand in the short time required. Once we have all parts on-hand, we will begin assembling all the pieces into Fitbits.

We do expect snaufus to occur and hopefully have padded our schedule accordingly. We’ve already have a couple incidents happen a few days ago. The big scare was that our battery supplier delivered our batteries last week, but most of them were about 1mm too long, which prevented them from fitting inside the Fitbit. We did get a few early samples from them, which were all within our requirements, but somehow the rest of the batch that were produced were not up to spec. Here’s an image I sent them detailing the problems.

Battery Feedback

The supplier is scrambling to redo all the batteries and I actually just got word from them an hour ago that the new batch of batteries will be ready by June 4th, so this won’t cause any delays.

We also had to re-tweak our wireless radio a bit recently to improve our range as we found that later sample units did not have the range as our earlier prototypes. This required us to get some additional parts, which we’re currently sourcing and I don’t think this should cause any delays, either.

This is the end of yet another long post. Please be gentle in the comments and I hope you all hang in there.

James

58 Responses leave one →
  1. May 19, 2009

    Great news….. Any word on beta testing the web site…or shipping dates to the UK

    Matt

  2. May 19, 2009

    Excellent, Cant wait for the product. Im hoping for minimal snafus! thanks for the update James.

    @James, when you ship them from california, will they be next day air as well, or something different

  3. Sheryl permalink
    May 19, 2009

    This is great news. I ordered mine back in September and have been eagerly waiting and reading the updates online. I can’t wait to receive this.

  4. Gebman permalink
    May 19, 2009

    Sounds great. Thanks for the update. Anxiously waiting.

  5. housewifeheather permalink
    May 19, 2009

    I’m so happy you were able to perfect our toy!! Thanks James for the best update yet. Can’t wait to hear when we get to beta test the website.

  6. May 19, 2009

    Super! I am really looking forward to having my fitbit this summer. It’s been a long wait, but I’m sure it will be worth it!

  7. Julian permalink
    May 19, 2009

    Finally! This looks very good though. So when will we be able to use the webpage? What about some beta testing? What is your plan concerning international shipping? And what happened to that twitter account ;)

    Great news, and thanks for the update!

    Julian

  8. Eric permalink
    May 19, 2009

    This is great news! Can’t wait to get our hands on these little puppies! Told my wife I pre-ordered one and now she wants one too!

  9. Elizabeth permalink
    May 19, 2009

    I can’t wait to get mine (hope I’m in the first round of shipments). I start marathon training in August and it will be great to have a new geeky gadget to measure my exercise progress. If it works out for me, it’s going to be my Christmas gift of choice this year. Make sure you ramp up the production so my whole family can get Fitbit packages for Christmas!

  10. kandys toll permalink
    May 19, 2009

    congratulations!! i know it has been a long road to get to this point. I am so Excited!! cant wait! looking forward to seeing the web site also

  11. May 19, 2009

    finally have a date… this is exciting news!! What is the word on when we can start testing out the website? I hope that is soon.
    Thank you for the updates! Looking foward to getting to use this great gadget/website over the summer ;)

  12. kdlj1974 permalink
    May 19, 2009

    It is good news to hear. Nice to see a shippment date in site. Pre-ordered and can’t wait to use my fit bit.

    Thank you for the update.

  13. Robert Macon permalink
    May 19, 2009

    Thanks for the detailed blog entry — I’m looking forward to the product very much. Please post any potential need for software beta testers — Congratulations!

  14. Joan permalink
    May 19, 2009

    Can’t wait to get the fitbit in my pocket, I think I’m even MORE excited to get on the website and start tracking data and getting to know the community!

  15. May 19, 2009

    I agree with everyone so far, it’s been a long wait but it’s going to be worth it for a quality product.

    Also, the website comps look killer! Love the bar charts and graph layouts. :)

  16. Gail permalink
    May 19, 2009

    That is wonderful news. I have been watching the blog for quite sometime but only ordered this month. Can you give an idea of when it will ship by when you ordered? Thanks, eagerly awaiting.

  17. May 19, 2009

    Can I please have the contact details for one of your sales reps? I’d like to talk to them about being an Asian distributor for Fitbit – ben@instinctivefitness.asia

  18. May 20, 2009

    You might want to update your website to say available late Summer/early Fall vice late Spring

  19. May 20, 2009

    I’ve been watching, waiting, hoping.. Can’t wait to try the Fitbit. As a past SportBrain user I really hope you can avoid having the long-term hardware issues that plagued that product. I’d still be a customer if the darn things didn’t die every 6 months . Some early problems should be anticipated, such is the plight of the early adopters, ha!

    Monitoring steps is the only way to go if you are a perennial dieter. I love setting the goal, watching, improving. It makes the process of “moving” even more rewarding.

  20. Eric permalink
    May 20, 2009

    I agree with Elizabeth. If these work as well as we’re all expecting them to, you’re most likely going to need to increase your production to keep up with the overwhelming demand that you will get. Also, I’m very excited about trying out the website!

  21. Carol Ann permalink
    May 20, 2009

    Thanks for the update!! I can’t wait!! Any ideas on when we get to start testing the website?

    CA

  22. Jen permalink
    May 20, 2009

    How exciting!! James, you guys must be overwhelmed with joy and excitement. It sounds like this has been a very needy baby for quite some time. I know I am excited to hear the updates and more excited to have a fitbit of my own. To everyone involved in the process of perfecting the fitbit: Kudos! You all should be very pleased and proud of your accomplishment! I am grateful for your time and efforts and creativity. Way to go!

  23. ari burgess permalink
    May 20, 2009

    What would put this over the top would be an iPhone app that could be used to enter the caloric data and retrieve the calorie burning data. What keeps me from products and services like this is the need to be tethered to a computer. So, every time I eat I have to go back to computer and punch in data, assuming I remember everything I had for lunch or dinner. My iPhone is with me all of the time everywhere I go.

  24. Reena permalink
    May 21, 2009

    Do you have enough units to fill all the preorders?

  25. Mark permalink
    May 21, 2009

    This is nice information, but if you cared about your pre-order customers, you would email them this information. Did my mail go to spam?

  26. Tony permalink
    May 23, 2009

    I recently discovered Fitbit and it looks awesome. I don’t know if you have already addressed this, but will there be applications developed in order to access the web content for smart phones? I would love to be able to use my iPhone to enter data when eating out, or to look at the fitness stats.

  27. April permalink
    May 24, 2009

    James, you rock!

    (thought you could use a purely uplifting comment)

    : D

  28. May 25, 2009

    I tell you what – I’m very excited for this. Great job, guys!

  29. May 26, 2009

    Just like to echo April’s comments. You guys rock. cant wait for the end of July

  30. Stephanie permalink
    May 27, 2009

    Looking forward to using all of your hard work. You are stinkin’ hilarious

  31. May 28, 2009

    I agree with Elizabeth. If these work as well as we’re all expecting them to, you’re most likely going to need to increase your production to keep up with the overwhelming demand that you will get. Also, I’m very excited about trying out the website!

  32. Pat permalink
    May 30, 2009

    Hello,
    I am still wondering how the fitbit will perform while I operate a car or I am on the bus. Will it know I am resting or will the speed of the car/bus be calculated? Will there be a pause button?

    thanks!
    Pat

  33. Joanne permalink
    May 31, 2009

    Can’t wait!!! Thanks for all your hard work and perseverence!

  34. Susan permalink
    June 1, 2009

    I really can’t wait for my Fitbit to arrive…I ordered last September and it has been a very long wait!! I hope the end of July date doesn’t slip. Do you anticipate fulfilling all pre-orders right away, or is that going to happen in stages?

  35. June 2, 2009

    Can’t wait until (I know when) this can ship to The Netherlands. Exactly the kind of low-effort, tiny and cool health monitoring device I was hoping someone would build. Can you also add a mic to record snoring? Or is the motion sensor sensitive enough to pick that up?

  36. Vic Clark permalink
    June 3, 2009

    Great report hang in there we know the wait will be worth it. When are you going public and offer stock options?

  37. June 3, 2009

    Looks good – can’t wait for mine. Looking at the dies takes me back, way back, to my early working days tending those machines.

    Good luck!

  38. Roslyn permalink
    June 4, 2009

    All good things come to those who wait. So I’m psyched !! (Cause I’ve been..Kinda, “Waiting” a really really really long time)

  39. Piotr permalink
    June 4, 2009

    Helo,

    I am really happy that finally you can launch Fitbit on the market. I am wondering also if there is possibility of sending fit bit to Spain or any other European country.

  40. Piotr permalink
    June 4, 2009

    Hello,

    I am really happy that finally you can launch Fitbit on the market. I am wondering also if there is possibility of sending fit bit to Spain or any other European country.

  41. Jen permalink
    June 9, 2009

    Any new updates???

  42. dawn permalink
    June 9, 2009

    Thanks for the update! It has been fascinating to follow the triumphs and challenges you’ve faced. I can’t wait to get my hands on the final, perfected product! Keep up the great work.

    This update reminds me I need to update my CC!

  43. Jennifer permalink
    June 11, 2009

    I would love to get into the website and start tracking my food calories now. Then add the fitbit when my pre-order is filled.

  44. Mercergirl permalink
    June 13, 2009

    Ditto on the excitement and anticipation of getting the little bugger in my hands. I also have come to depend on iPhone to log all my meal and fitness data, so I do hope a fitbit iPhone app is on your to do list.

    This will be the highlight of my summer since I won’t be upgrading that iPhone on June 19.

  45. kdlj1974 permalink
    June 15, 2009

    Is there any word if the first shipment will include all pre-orders? How is everything going for the July shipment?

  46. Bill Caswell permalink
    June 15, 2009

    I’ve pre-ordered two units. However in the ensuing months, my credit card information has changed. I sent an email to your company, but have not heard back from you so I don’t know if you are reading them. I’d like to remain in the queue and just resupply the correct cc info. How do I do this?

    Thanks. I know that launching a new product like this has many challenges and I’m sure that you guys are pulling out the stops to get everything ready. Good luck! I’m looking forward to using the fitbit.

  47. Marla permalink
    June 16, 2009

    Wondering if you are still on track with the July goal?? Eagerly waiting.

  48. NorCal? permalink
    June 17, 2009

    Can I just pick mine up? I live in NorCal.

  49. housewifeheather permalink
    June 18, 2009

    I’m really excited!! Been checking everyday….just feel like this is going to help me get things more under control with my eating/activity and see how I’m sleeping. Can’t wait until the next post Mr. James. Hoping to get into fitbit nutrition site soon to start logging things.

  50. John S permalink
    June 19, 2009

    Great stuff! Ipeople we get it you have an Iphone or Ipod and you want an app. It has already been mentioned along with a mobile site suggestion. What I would like is email and text alerts about going over calorie budgets and reminders to exercise. I am please you guys are on the ball and finishing up with the physical product and can’t wait for some of these early adopters to start helping you guys enter nutritional info for the rest of us.

  51. June 20, 2009

    Awesome news – thanks for sticking it out through to tough process. Really looking forward to seeing this come alive.

    Sure there are other options (Polar have the FA20 and WalkStyles have the DashTrak for instance) but the FitBit looks like it’s the best all round package

  52. July 3, 2009

    Bill was right back then, time to update the home page from “late spring”, zooming in when we can order!

  53. Jun Labao permalink
    July 5, 2009

    Very much interested in getting one or two units. Do you ships overseas? Philippines? How much will the shipping be? Can payment be done by paypal?

  54. Josh permalink
    July 5, 2009

    Yeah! Let us into the website so we can start logging food and other stuff that doesn’t require the FitBit itself….let us play with it in anticipation of getting the actual device.

  55. Pat permalink
    July 20, 2009

    I have now asked this question for the fourth time:

    Hello,
    I am still wondering how the fitbit will perform while I operate a car or I am on the bus. Will it know I am resting or will the motion of the car/bus be calculated? Will there be a pause button?

    thanks!
    Pat

  56. Jon permalink
    July 24, 2009

    Excited about the dawn of a new age of tracking activity! This would be a great tool to partner with health clubs and insurance companies to track activity vs simply logging attendance to a fitness facility…

  57. July 28, 2009

    I am Primary investigator on and spearhead several funded projects that challenge the childhood obesity phenomenon. We hope to help kids through education and behavioral modification. I am very interested in obtaining one of your “Fitbits” to learn how it works and if it could be of use to me in any of my projects. Please indicate when this product will be ready for sale and how I can purchase one.

  58. Jim permalink
    May 15, 2010

    Just got my fitbit and already thrilled. It took me about 4 hours of use and looking at your website to determine that an iPhone app would be essential for me to keep up on the food/water/excercise entries. I’m not sure I understand the Jon S guy who wants alerts on going over calorie budget and a reminder to exercise. If you are entering your data to count calories, won’t you instantly know when you are over your calorie budget? Also, seems like the reminder to exercise is also intrinsic to the site.

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