Image source: Fitbit

Opinion: Fitbit will probably not release a WearOS watch of its own

Now that Google Pixel Watch is out it seems increasingly unlikely Fitbit will release a WearOS timepiece of its own.

Many people were wondering what would happen to Fitbit following the Google acquisition. For now it seems business as usual. The company has simply continued to release devices in its existing range.

Essential reading: Google Pixel Watch vs Fitbit Sense 2 vs Versa 4: what’s the difference?

One thing that was hinted at following the deal was that Fitbit would be working on a fully fledged WearOS watch of its own. It was supposed to be a Fitbit branded timepiece, so nothing to do with Google Pixel Watch. There was talk that it might arrive as soon as the end of this year.

Now that we are into mid-November, that’s clearly not going to happen. But could we see a Fitbit WearOS device in 2023?

Fitbit watches are clearly being dumbed down

A strange thing happened when Google Pixel Watch came out. Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2 that we released just a few weeks prior ended up without some functions that could be found on their immediate predecessors.

For starters, previous generation Fitbits have the ability to connect to App Gallery. And while its choice is much smaller than what you can get on WearOS, it does provide some nice options. Unfortunately, Versa 4 and Sense 2 have no ability to install third party apps and watch-faces. Clearly, they could if Fitbit switched on the functionality – but the company has chosen not to do so.

But it doesn’t end there. The latest two smartwatch offerings from Fitbit lack the ability to store music locally, or even control music on a connected phone. WiFi is built-in but it is deactivated, which only leaves you with Bluetooth connectivity. Plus there’s no smartphone call support. The list doesn’t end there.

Google is clearly positioning Pixel Watch as something for those that want both Fitbit fitness tracking smarts and rich smartwatch functions. So a different market segment from those purely after a fitness and health device. And as a consequence of that, our view is that they are purposefully dumbing down Fitbit devices.

Fitbit WearOS smartwatch
Image source: Fitbit

No change going forward

There is no more talk of a Fitbit WearOS smartwatch. In their latest statement, which sheds light on the medium-term future of Fitbit there was only talk of good cooperation with Google. Fitbit software on the Pixel Watch also received a mention as did some other things.

Going forward it seems that Fitbit will remain in its own universe focusing on developing health and fitness functionality and continuing with its existing line of devices. It is hard to see what a Fitbit WearOS smartwatch would bring to the table in addition to what Google Pixel watch is already offering.

Of course, we may get a few surprises along the way. A Fitbit smartwatch for kids would make sense. Garmin has gone down that route a few days ago with their first smartwatch for little ones.

Google, on the other hand, will continue to benefit from Fitbit fitness tracking smarts. We suspect Pixel Watch 2 and perhaps an SE version will land next year. And new devices will be released every 12 months after that. A release schedule along the lines of the Apple Watch.

When you think about it, this probably makes sense. At least for now, WearOS watches have dismal battery life. Until that changes we don’t see a shift in Fitbit’s strategy. You certainly don’t want the hassle of charging your device every day or every other day if you are primarily interested in activity and health tracking.

Which means Pixel Watch will probably remain separated from the rest of the Fitbit portfolio. And we might not see a Fitbit WearOS watch. At least not in the immediate future. We just wish Fitbit stops cutting features that its devices clearly have in order to give the Google Pixel Watch a boost.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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