Fitbit has had an unusually quiet year, with Google's slow destruction of the brand seemingly killing off any hopes of any new launches in 2023. But a new FCC filing suggests we may yet see the unlikely arrival of a new Fitbit tracker soon.
As spotted by 9to5Google, a new FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filing for a Google product with the model number G3MP5 emerged yesterday. While the filing discusses radiofrequency regulations and compliance, some digging by 9to5Google surmised it's likely related to Fitbit fitness trackers. This is due to where the FCC e-label is stored and how such information can be accessed in the same way on the likes of the Fitbit Charge 5.
All this is significant because it's the first time Fitbit has been mentioned in a fresh FCC filing under Google since the company was bought in November 2019.
So does this mean Fitbit might escape being phased out as Google focuses on fitness watches like the Pixel Watch 2? Not necessarily. Firstly, the device mentioned in the filing isn't a premium fitness tracker like the Charge 5 or Fitbit Versa 4. Instead, the new tracker seemingly only has Bluetooth connectivity (with no NFC), which hints at a new Ace or Luxe model.
The most likely of these is probably a successor to the kid-friendly Fitbit Ace 3, which arrived back in March 2021. One of our main issues with the Ace 3 was its companion app, which was a stripped-down version of the standard Fitbit app. With the Fitbit app about to get a radical redesign later this year, perhaps Google is planning to introduce some new hardware alongside a better software experience for kids.
But it's also possible that the unannounced device isn't a fitness tracker at all. For example, Fitbit also hasn't updated other products like its Fitbit Aria Air smart scales for some time. We'll need more details to know for sure, but the timing of the FCC filing suggests the mysterious Fitbit product could be announced later this year, possibly sometime between September and October to coincide with Fitbit app relaunch.
Analysis: Google keeps Fitbit on life support
The traditional Fitbit release schedule, which often saw annual updates to its fitness trackers, has gone out of the window in the past 18 months. Last year's Fitbit Versa 4 and Fitbit Sense 2 were hobbled shadows of their predecessors, and this year has –disappointing app updates aside – been largely tumbleweed.
This hardware slowdown has coincided with disastrous software updates that made sleep-tracking graphs worse, plus Google stripping the Fitbit ecosystem of some popular features like the ability to download music files onto smartwatches.
In short, it's felt like Google has very much been winding Fitbit down, in preparation for its plan to make Fitbit users access their data using a Google account (which is expected to happen in 2025). So these new rumors of a possible new Fitbit tracker or device are certainly unexpected and tricky to decipher.
The last two new Fitbit trackers were the Fitbit Versa 4 and the Fitbit Sense 2, which landed in September 2022. But earlier this year we did see rumors of a new Fitbit smartwatch for kids, and with the Ace series also in need of an update, that sounds like the most likely explanation for this mystery Fitbit tracker.
While it's unlikely to signal a full Fitbit resurrection, we could yet see the much-loved fitness brand get a stay of execution with a hardware announcement alongside the full release of the new Fitbit app, which will become available "this fall" (sometime between September and November).
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.