That's why the recent leaks of Fitbit's first smartwatch and the apparent problems it's having with building it are not all that surprising. I'm sure there'll be a fair few Fitbit investors not exactly impressed with what they're seeing and reading right now. I'll admit, I'm not entirely sold on a design that essentially looks like the Blaze and the Surge married together. I think everyone was hoping for something a little more revolutionary in the looks department.
Some of the supposed software issues are concerning as well. No Spotify support for music streaming? That's a massive blow and the uncertainty around whether a dedicated app store will launch in time is disappointing. Third party app support, specifically around notifications, is the lifeblood of any good smartwatch and needs to work much, much better than it currently does on Fitbit devices like the Blaze and the Charge 2.
The smartwatch competition
But I really don't think it's all doom and gloom. There's reasons to be positive, especially if you're already sold on the Fitbit ecosystem. Like the fact this upcoming watch should match the Apple Watch Series 2 for waterproofing, heart rate monitoring and built-in GPS. Okay, so not groundbreaking features, but after spreading these features across the Fitbit range, they're all coming together in one device. Talk of a four day battery life is promising as well, although I'm intrigued to find out how having a display that's as bright as Apple's can manage to do that.
The big question that really needs be answered is what exactly is going on with an operating system that's being built from scratch. Misfit had big, bold ideas to make its own OS for its Vapor smartwatch, but it didn't take long for the company to ditch that idea and go with Android Wear instead.
We still don't know how Fitbit's acquisitions of Pebble, Vector and Coin will factor into this Fitbit watch OS, but if it can emulate what Pebble did then it'll be on the right track. Fitbit has already shown that it knows how to make a great companion app, so at this point I have faith that it will get this right, having paid close attention to what Apple, Samsung and et al have got right and wrong.
It sounds like what will launch later this year will not be the fully fledged smartwatch the world is expecting to see. As a result I'm finding myself altering my expectations. That's because it sounds less Apple Watch rival and more Polar and Garmin sports watch alternative right now. Relying on software updates to add extra features and enhance existing ones it seems will be the blueprint. Let's just hope that Fitbit keeps those updates coming thick and fast and doesn't keep us waiting for the smartwatch that will really shake things up.
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