Image source: Fitbit

Why Fitbit’s decision to remove features may be a sign of its move to WearOS

Fitbit’s announcement that it will discontinue Open Groups, Challenges, and Adventures in just over a month has sparked outrage among its customer base. Could there be a plan to move Fitbit smartwatches over to wearOS?

According to the company, these changes are part of an effort to “enhance the Fitbit app with Google technology this year”. The duo is planning to develop new features, provide faster load times, and improve the overall user experience.

Nevertheless, the decision has perplexed many.


What features will be removed?

The following features will be removed from the Android and iOS smartphone app as of March 27, 2023:

  • Open groups will no longer be available. But you can still create a closed group with your friends and connect with other users in the Fitbit Community on the Health & Wellness forums.
  • All Challenges and Adventures, including trophies, will no longer be available. But it sounds that Badges will continue to exist (for now).

Here’s the email from Fitbit in full for those of you who may not have seen it.

Fitbit message

What can users do?

Not much. Fitbit states that it has given its users the ability to manage their data and accounts. To download your data from these features before it is deleted on March 27, 2023, log in to your fitbit.com dashboard and go to fitbit.com/settings/data/export. Furthermore, users can cancel their Premium subscription or delete their Fitbit account at any time.


Unhappy user-base

Fitbit’s latest announcement has enraged its customers. These functions were popular among Fitbit users, and their removal has caused a backlash on social media and other online platforms. Fitbit owners state that the functionality is an important part of their fitness journey and are disappointed that it will no longer be available.

For many people, the social features and gamification of fitness are huge motivators. Removing these aspects of the app and device reduces the enjoyment of using Fitbits. Challenges were the feature that initially drew many people to Fitbit. Some say they subscribe to Fitbit Premium solely to participate in more challenges with their loved ones.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

It’s an odd decision to say the least that, at first glance, appears to be a huge blunder. What makes matters worse is that this comes on top of the music playing and third-party app support, both of which have been truncated.


The end of Fitbit’s proprietary operating system for smartwatches?

Without a doubt, the Google integration is at the root of all of these decisions. Google smartwatches currently advertise Fitbit integration. However, there may be plans to gradually replace Fitbit’s proprietary operating system with WearOS. It is unlikely that the pair will continue to use two operating systems in the future. Why pour resources into maintaining and developing two separate operating systems?

So don’t be surprised if Google wearOS powers Sense 3 and Versa 5. To us, that seems like the most logical explanation for these decisions.

Fitbit has acknowledged its customers’ dissatisfaction and assured them that it will continue to update the Fitbit app and develop new features. However, only time will tell if these efforts will be enough to appease the disgruntled customers. If you are one of those, cast your vote on Fitbit’s forum to keep Open Groups, Challenges, and Adventures.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Why Fitbit’s decision to remove features may be a sign of its move to WearOS

  • I have been using Fitbit trackers for over 8 years now and the Fitbit challenges are the reason. I have made friends and use the challenges to stay motivated! With them removing these features, I will be finding another company, immediately. They are completely out of touch with their community’s opinions and needs. Or they don’t care. Bye Fitbit and Google! I will never wear a Google product after this. Thanks for ruining everything, Google. #GoogleAndFitbitAreBannedForLife.

    Reply
  • Time to ditch the fitbit some of us like the challenges and adventures !

    Reply
  • They need to leave everything as it is. They are gonna lose thousands of customers, everyone loves doing challenges with friends and families. #leavethechallengesforthepeople

    Reply

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