Fitbit to pull Pandora & Deezer support from its older devices

Fitbit will soon remove Pandora and Deezer support from its older devices, in what is sure to be a highly unpopular move.

Just when we thought things wouldn’t change very much following the Google acquisition of the outfit, it appears Fitbit is making some questionable decisions. To its credit, the company has been churning out devices on a regular basis. However, the smart functionality on these is being stripped back.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

This is most likely due to the recent release of Google’s first smartwatch. It is clear that the duo is positioning Pixel Watch as the go-to option for a complete smartwatch experience. That’s understandable. But does Fitbit really need to reduce the functionality of its existing product line, features that its devices are clearly capable of performing? Why do that?

Unpopular email communication

The company has just sent out an email informing customers that support for Pandora and Deezer will be discontinued on March 31st. These services are currently only available on the Fitbit Sense, Versa 2, and Versa 3 smartwatches.

To remind, the Sense 2 and Versa 4 were released in August without these music capabilities, as well as support for third-party apps. These features were actually reasons to purchase older Fitbit smartwatches if the discount was good enough. But that is no longer the case.

“We noticed you’ve used Pandora or Deezer within the past 6 months and wanted to share an important update. ” the email reads.

“Pandora and Deezer will be removed as of March 31, 2023. This means you will no longer be able to download Pandora stations or add Deezer playlists to your device, nor will you be able to play anything that you have previously downloaded.

At this point, it wouldn’t surprise us if Fitbit removed third-party app support from older devices. But even if it doesn’t, it’s slim picking as far as app choice. Fitbit has no real incentive to invest in its app ecosystem because Google is making significant efforts to expand third-party apps on its Wear OS 3 smartwatch platform.

There will be no local music storage option

Owners of older Fitbits will no longer be able to listen to or download Pandora or Deezer music after March 31st. Those who have spent a significant amount of time creating playlists will be disappointed. It’s fair to say that users are less than impressed. The device on their wrist will soon be less capable than it was when they bought it.

What’s more, these two services currently the only ways to play music stored on a Fitbit device as the company has recently removed the ability to manually transfer music onto their watches from a computer. Users also won’t be able to play anything that was previously downloaded. Spotify is for now the only choice, but that doesn’t fully replace the service.

Fitbit did not provide an official explanation as to the reasons for the decision, but it is not difficult to read between the lines. This is a clear message that the Google Pixel Watch is the way to go if you want a smartwatch experience. Unless, of course, Fitbit launches its own full-fledged watch, which has been rumoured for several years.

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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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