Google is working on a premium Fitbit device that runs its own operating system, Wear OS – but what will it look like, and how will it work?
Google finalized its acquisition of Fitbit earlier this year, and executives from the two companies announced their plans for the new device at this year's Google IO event on May 18. They gave no information about its features, design or release date, but we can make some educated guesses about what it may be like.
At the same event, Google said that it's planning to bring Fitbit apps to Wear OS, so we expect that the new premium device will essentially be a Wear OS smartwatch that puts these features at the fore.
Details are scarce so far, but we do know that these will include activity tracking and 'celebrations' when you meet targets such as your daily steps goal.
We're not expecting the new Fitbit's interface to look like a standard Wear OS watch, though. Fitbit devices have always been made with user-friendliness in mind – their clear menus, icons and animations mean you can pick one up and start tracking your vital stats with very little guidance.
We'd expect a Wear OS-powered Fitbit to be equally accessible. There may well be a 'skin' over the top of the operating system to provide a distinct Fitbit-style interface (much like the Samsung One UI or Google Pixel UI on Android phones).
Despite the change in operating system, the new premium Fitbit will sync with the standard Fitbit smartphone app. This will need a hefty update in order to support WearOS, but we don't expect its design to change too significantly.
Fitbit has poured resources into enhancing the app in recent months, including adding a raft of new meditation tools from Deepak Chopra, so it's unlikely to be planning a complete overhaul of the interface in the near future.
When the Fitbit Inspire 2, Versa 3 and Sense launched towards the end of 2020, the company's SVP of design Jonah Becker explained that the company's designers had created a new 'Biologic Industrial Design Language' that features soft curves and shapes inspired by the human body.
We're expecting the new premium Fitbit to follow a similar theme, with smooth lines and rounded edges. We're not expecting a round watch face, though. "There’s a visual comfort with traditional circular watches," Becker said in 2020, ‘but smartwatches are more at home with the rectilinear form."
Soft silicone bands are likely to be on the cards (after all, Fitbits are designed to be worn while working out), but we anticipate a range of smarter straps will be available too.
When it announced the new Fitbit Luxe earlier this year, the company was keen to draw attention to the optional silver and gold-toned bracelets by jewelry designer Gorjana, and we wouldn't be surprised if the new premium Fitbit has a similar option to add a touch of class.
The final piece of the puzzle, we suspect, may be a lifetime subscription to Fitbit Premium, which gives users access to a huge array of extra workouts, mindfulness sessions, and historic data within the Fitbit app.
New Fitbit users already get a free trial of the paid-for service when registering their device, but it makes sense that a smartwatch specifically marketed as 'premium' would come with an all-access membership as standard.
Price and release date
Fitbit isn't in the habit of giving away details of its devices ahead of their launch (unless they leak accidentally a couple of days early, as was the case with the Fitbit Luxe), so we don't expect to have much warning before the new premium smartwatch becomes available to pre-order.
We can make some guesses about its price, though. Fitbit's current flagship device, the Fitbit Sense, went on sale last year for $329 / £299 / AU$499.95. As a premium device, the new smartwatch is likely to be more expensive than that – but perhaps not by very much. The new watch will be competing with the likes of the reasonably priced Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, so Fitbit won't be able to bump it too high.
Alternatively, the new watch might be no more expensive than the Sense at all. 9to5Google (opens in new tab) has spotted that the price of the Sense in the US has dropped to $299 on Fitbit's US website, and the lack of a 'sale' sticker indicates that the price change may be permanent.
In that case, it's possible that the premium smartwatch may come in at around the same launch price as the Sense, so the company needed to lower its prices to make sure the Sense is still a tempting proposition.
Of course, there's no way to be certain at this point – we can only make informed guesses – but we'll keep you updated as soon as we know more.
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