Fitbit has continued its mission to remove as many smart features from its watches as possible – and the company has now killed Pandora and Deezer support from its older Versa devices.
A support announcement spotted by 9to5Google reveals that the company will remove the streaming apps from all generations of Versa and Sense smartwatches, from March 2023.
The company already started this process when it removed music capabilities from the new Versa 4 and Sense 2 – in a way making them worse than their predecessors. Until now.
In a Support post, Fitbit said that “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.”
So we hope our readers weren’t enjoying those features previously.
In an arms race of smartwatches – and one that Fitbit hasn’t really excelled in despite some excellent devices – systematically disassembling key features seems a strange tactic.
But it’s not just these. Fitbit seems as if it no longer wants to maintain any third-party apps within its ecosystem. Interpreting logic is difficult for us mere mortals, but we will try.
First, this all comes after the launch of the Pixel Watch – which presumably Google will want to ensure remains top of the pile. It felt as if the Versa/Sense actually offered too many reasons to opt for Fitbit smartwatches over Pixel Watch, given the battery life situation.
Is this Google redressing that balance? Probably so.
Another question mark is around Fitbit OS. Could Fitbit be plotting a major upgrade here? Does the shuttering of third-party services lead to something more robust, possibly geared around Google services?
Less likely. Google has been painfully slow to develop its own OS, let alone Fitbit’s.
It seems the intention is to make Fitbit devices less complete smartwatches and focus them on the core Fitbit tracking experience – presumably keeping prices low as well. If you want bells and whistles, well you’ll need to buy a Wear OS smartwatch.
That could be the Pixel Watch – or a forthcoming Fitbit branded Wear OS ‘premium’ smartwatch, which was spoken about by James Park back in 2021. We could see that land this year.
We also could see Fitbit finally land on third party Wear OS 3 devices this year, too. Brook Eaton of Fossil speculated that this could happen.
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