Image source: Fitbit

Survey suggests Fitbit might start charging users to view historical data

A recent customer survey suggests that Fitbit is exploring the possibility of expanding its Premium Subscription service. In addition to introducing more affordable tiers, a new entry-level subscription might limit access to historical health data for freemium users.

People have mixed feelings when it comes to Google’s Fitbit acquisition. Some feel it is the beginning of the end for Fitbit, others that Google’s financial power will only bring good things for the wearables manufacturer. With added financial resources Fitbit might be better equipped to develop future generation health sensors.

The search giant has already added Fitbit products to its online store and we’ve seen Google Assistant come to the devices such as Versa 3 and Sense. But make no mistake, Google has much bigger plans than that. What it will be allowed to do is, however, limited.

In order for its acquisition to be approved by regulators, Google had to agree that it will not use of Fitbit data for targeted advertising. Other stipulations include a guarantee of continuation of third party access to Fitbit’s user data and commitments with respect to Fitbit’s Web API and its own Android API.

Will Fitbit expand Premium Subscription tiers?

A way for Google to capitalize financially on Fitbit data might be by changing Fitbit’s subscription model. This is according to a report by Android Central.

They have access to a customer survey that was recently sent out by Fitbit. It is to do with its Premium Subscription which currently runs at $9.99 each month (or $79.99 for the year). For this, you get guided workouts and programs. More importantly, depending on the Fitbit device you own, you also receive access to health data such as temperature, stress and heart rate variability.

The survey hints that the Premium Subscription model might be expanded to include cheaper tiers. This is good in the sense that it will make it more affordable. But it is the cheapest option in the survey which is a cause for concern.

According to the survey, that one would give users access to their long-term historical health data. This is something that’s always been free. Which means the current freemium option might be limited to a month or so of your health and fitness data!

If this turns out to be the new revenue model, it will not go down lightly with Fitbit users. They’ve always had access to their historical data.

What’s more, this is contrary to a recent rumor which hints that Charge 4 users will get access to data that was previously behind the pay-wall. Owners of the popular fitness band will reportedly soon get access to skin temperature variability readings for the first time, along with other Premium health metrics.

Will it actually go down?

It is worth pointing out that none of these rumors have been confirmed by Google or Fitbit as yet. But it’s clear the duo is exploring various revenue options, looking for the right way forward.

We are a bit skeptical that they will opt to limit access to historical data. Such a move would make them much less competitive against the likes of Garmin, Polar, Apple and others. They might actually shoot themselves in the foot with such a move.

The commonly held view is that if you buy a wearable device, you should have access to all data that it’s capable of producing. We would certainly not disagree with that!

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Ivan Jovin

Ivan has been a tech journalist for over 7 years now, covering all kinds of technology issues. He is the guy who gets to dive deep into the latest wearable tech news.

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