Fitbit's smartwatch will not include standalone connectivity

James Park confirms feature will not make the cut

Fitbit's smartwatch debut is set to be feature packed, but one thing it won't be packing is cellular connectivity according to the company's chief executive James Park.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Park revealed that it wouldn't follow in the footsteps of Android Wear watches like the Huawei Watch 2 or Samsung's Tizen-running Gear S3 Frontier, and is set to shun the feature that would make its watch less reliant on being connected to a smartphone. That means doings things like downloading apps will need to be done while paired to your phone or over Wi-Fi.

Essential reading: What we want to see from Fitbit's smartwatch apps

Fitbit decided to make this call because it is a feature that is "struggling for a use case" according to Park. He also believes including it would require too many trade-offs including having an impact on battery life.

Park also commented on the recent reports of delays with the company's first smartwatch insisting that the watch remained "on track" and saying, "It's going to be, in my opinion, our best product yet."

He also confirmed that the Fitbit watch will have a waterproof design, include more precise GPS tracking and new biometric sensors. We can also expect a battery life that lasts for several days, sleep tracking and the company is going to make it easier for third-party developers to write apps for the device. Music player support is something that Park also references saying that Fitbit is "focused on figuring out how to best integrate music into the fitness experience for people."

One thing Park didn't confirm is when the Fitbit smartwatch is going to launch. Recent speculation still points to a fall launch with a price tag rumoured to be around the $300 mark. Other rumoured features include a 1,000 nit colour display and NFC payments while leaked pics suggest it will take design cues from the Fitbit Blaze.

Are you disappointed by the decision not to include standalone connectivity support? Let us know in the comments below.

Fitbit's smartwatch will not include standalone connectivity


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11 comments

  • Valkat·

    Cellular connectivity I avoid due to the EMF exposure. Would not like to have that on my wrist.

    What I believe most of the people want is good looking watch with battery lasting a week plus ability to download apps like Pebble.

    • fitbitME·

      Glad to see so much positive feedback Valkat. Many thanks. 

  • Pw1·

    That's the best news, that will save on battery power & thickness of the watch, cellular need thicker for chips & aerials. 

  • Darcer·

    I like the feature list, not so keen on the design based on the leaks.

    That's such a shame, because I quite like the design of other Fitbit products, including the software and companion app. 

    • datalore·

      I agree not the most stylish, but I don't think the design is horrible. I kinda like it, but much more interested in the waterproofing and health metrics. 

  • ewedel·

    Current pebble user here, so I'm heartened by the remarks on extending battery life and easing the addition of 3rd party software.  Waterproof is good too. :-)

    Think Park is quite right that the tradeoffs to get a fully online watch aren't worth it. Also agree with Valkat that I wouldn't want all that RF right next to me anyway (often leave phone radio off for this reason too).

    • fitbitME·

      Wonderful feedback ewedel. Cheers!

  • ScottMiller·

    Waterproof is awesome. Also more battery life is great. Will it be able to make phone calls while connecting to your phone or is that what you mean by saying it will not be a stand alone connectivity. Thanks and looking forward to seeing it. (I currently own the Blaze and I'm loving it. Just wish it was waterproof and was able to use it to call and receive calls)

    • fitbitME·

      Hi Scott, 

      Thanks for your continued support and feedback on the new release. 

  • datalore·

    If this watch gets 4 days of battery life and the waterproofing is rock solid I'll buy it. I think fitbit has a stellar app and is good at health/fitness tracking. I don't care about a phone on my wrist I want a waterproof tracker that's semi-stylish and does some smart notifications and has the health tracking I need. 

    • fitbitME·

      Great feedback! Thanks for your support.