Image source: Fitbit

Fitbit’s European blackout: Is your favourite app next on the chopping block?

In a surprising move, Google announced that it will be removing all third-party apps and clock faces from the Fitbit App Gallery for users in the European Economic Area (EEA) starting in June 2024. This decision has left many Fitbit users in Europe disgruntled and seeking answers.

Here’s a screenshot of the announcement in full.

Google Fitbit app announcement

Why is Google removing third-party apps?

The announcement from the company is fairly vague, and the specific reasons are not explicitly stated. Perhaps it is to do with more stringent privacy laws on the continent. Or the move might be linked to the European Union’s increasing scrutiny of tech giants and their control over app ecosystems.

The EU has been actively pushing for more open platforms and increased competition, which might clash with Google’s closed ecosystem approach for Fitbit devices. Rather than complying with potential requirements to open up the platform, Google may have opted to remove third-party apps altogether. At the moment it is not clear as to the reasons for the decision.

What does this mean for Fitbit users?

So what does this mean for you? If you live in the US or other countries outside Europe, its business as usual. So, no change.

However, if you are on the continent, then:

  • No new third-party apps: After June 2024, European Fitbit users will no longer be able to download and install new third-party apps or clock faces from the App Gallery.
  • Existing apps remain functional: Apps and clock faces already installed on your Fitbit device will continue to function, at least for the foreseeable future.
  • Limited to Fitbit and Google Apps: Users will be restricted to the selection of apps and clock faces developed by Fitbit and Google themselves.

Potential workarounds

Some users have speculated about potential workarounds, such as using a VPN to mask their location and access the App Gallery as if they were in a non-EEA country. However, it’s unclear how Fitbit will enforce this restriction and whether it will solely rely on IP addresses or implement other measures.

Essential readingTop fitness trackers and health gadgets

Another uncertainty revolves around the Google Pixel Watch range. While Google’s announcement explicitly mentions Fitbit devices, it remains unclear whether the Pixel Watch, which runs on Wear OS, will also be affected by this decision.

As of now, Fitbit users in Europe have until June 2024 to download and install any desired third-party apps. So get in quick and download your favourites. Google and Fitbit have not yet provided further details on the specific regulations prompting this move or the future of third-party app integration.

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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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