Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
IT | By Lester Massey

Fitbit's smartwatch finally gets its first update

Fitbit's smartwatch finally gets its first update

The Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit's first true smartwatch, and although not flawless, it's a great step in the right direction for the company.

Big names available immediately include Phillips Hue, Yelp, Flipboard, and The New York Times.

Fitbit is releasing the first major update to the Fitbit OS software on its flagship Ionic smartwatch today, bringing a host of new apps and watchfaces to the fledging smartwatch platform. Those aren't exactly the sexiest or most useful names in the app game, but many more are expected by the end of the year, including Uber, Clue, Nest, TripAdvisor, and United Airlines. Deezer's also getting in on the action next year, becoming the second notable music service after Pandora to buy in to the Ionic ecosystem.

Fitbit (fit) pioneered the market for smart wearable devices like its popular fitness trackers, but sales have fallen sharply over the past year as consumers have gravitated to smartwatches that do more things.

Some of the new apps arrive at the height of the holiday gift buying season, so perhaps they'll make the Ionic a more tempting, Android compatible alternative to the Apple Watch.

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A lack of apps wasn't my biggest issue with the Fitbit Ionic - but it was up there.

Lastly, Fitbit is adding a new early access testing program for the Ionic called Fitbit Labs, which will allow users to test out "experimental apps and clock faces". That's in addition to the relatively measly 17 faces included with the watch at launch. And more bank cards will be usable with the watch's mobile payments app, too. It released the gadget in October with only a few apps to its name - then proceeded to leave the brand new OS alone for nearly two months without a software update. More than 5,000 developers have joined Fitbit's developer program and 1,000 have started to write apps or build clock faces for the Ionic, Fitbit said. Current examples of what Fitbit Labs will be working on include a clock face that helps you stay active by feeding your steps to a virtual pet, a clock face with a mood log, a tennis app that tracks your swings, and more.

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