After Pebble, Fitbit snaps up Vector smartwatch startup

Wearable tech giant gets serious about building the ultimate smartwatch
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There's no doubting it now, a Fitbit smartwatch is in the works and the company is buying up more expertise in the field with startup Vector the latest on the shopping list.

After spending around $40 million on Pebble at the tail end of last year, Vector's founder and CTO Andrei Pitis confirmed the acquisition of its software platform and design team.

Read this: The best smartwatches to buy in 2017

So why would Fitbit want to have Vector on board? There's probably a few reasons. For starters, Vector CEO Joe Santana spent 20 years at Timex moving from engineer to CEO, so it'll be inheriting a team with plenty of experience in the watch business. Its operating system also featured unique features like the ability to create watch faces, information streams and discreet notifications.

Since 2015, its launched two luxury smartwatches in the shape of the Lunar and Meridian. The standout feature was undeniably the promise to deliver an impressive 30-days of battery life. With current smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 2 and Google's Android Wear watches struggling around the 1-2 day mark, this could mean Fitbit is working to offer significantly more smartwatch stamina than the current crop.

In a statement on its website, Vector outlined the Fitbit buyout:

"Today, we are happy to announce that the Vector Watch team and our software platform are joining Fitbit, the leader in the connected health and fitness market! We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit's experience and global community."

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For those Vector owners worried what this buyout means for them, unsurprisingly no new software and hardware features will be added to the existing watches. Warranty and hardware related queries will still be dealt with by the Vector support team and you can still submit new watch faces for approval. You'll still also be able to buy Vector watches including the new BMW i Limited Edition model as well as chargers and screen protectors from selected retailers.

Fitbit has yet to confirm that it's building a smartwatch but the evidence continues to mount. CEO James Park has already hinted at new form factors and revealed Fitbit wants to build a wearable app store in 2017. After the Pebble buyout followed by the Vector acquisition, it's acting swiftly to make sure it has all the tools necessary to make a Fitbit smartwatch that's going to have Apple, Samsung and Google quaking in their boots.

Source: TechCrunch

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Michael Sawh

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Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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