Google is planning to release its first branded smartwatch next year, according to inside sources – and it might actually be a Fitbit.
Business Insider, which first broke the story, claims that there are no currently no plans for the the new watch to carry the Fitbit brand, but other hints suggest otherwise. Most significantly, a source speaking to The Verge claimed that the new smartwatch (currently codenamed Rohan) would cost more than the current line of Fitbit devices – an odd comparison to make if there's no connection.
Fitbit's current lineup of devices start at $299.99 / £279.99 / AU$449.95, and a higher price tag would make sense for a new more premium device – and that's something we've been expecting for quite a while.
A true Fitbit smartwatch
First, a little background. Google announced that it was acquiring Fitbit a year ago, and completed the deal in early 2021. The two companies kept the details of the partnership quiet for several months, but at the 2021 Google IO event in May, they revealed a few interesting developments.
Firstly, Google announced that it would be bringing certain Fitbit features to Wear OS. Wear OS already has a fitness app, but the company explained that Fitbit integration would add features like goal celebrations when you hit a step target. It could allow you to sync your health and workout data seamlessly with the Fitbit app (very handy if you want to switch between devices)
More interestingly, Fitbit CEO James Park announced that the two companies were also working together on a 'premium' Fitbit smartwatch running Wear OS.
That would be a big change for Fitbit. While the Sense and Versa lines are advertised as smartwatches, they're much more limited than the likes of an Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, or Ticwatch Pro. Not only do they have less powerful processors and less internal storage, there's only a small selection of third-party apps available in the Fitbit Gallery – and almost all of those on offer are either fitness tools or simple games.
In short, while they're excellent for tracking health and workouts, the Versa 3 and Sense just aren't as versatile as a 'true' smartwatch. You certainly can't use them to reply to emails, or navigate using Google Maps – until now.
Getting a head start
The imminent launch of a Fitbit smartwatch would also explain why the company has been pouring so much effort and investment into its paid subscription service over recent months.
Fitbit Premium has undergone some big upgrades this year, with new features including guided meditation sessions with Deepak Chopra, workouts guided by Will Smith, and a Readiness Score that tells you how much energy you have for the day ahead. Sleep Animals is another new feature coming soon, and will offer personalized guidance to help improve your nightly recovery based on patterns and habits.
We can only hypothesize at the moment, but bundling all this premium content in with a Fitbit-branded smartwatch could make it a much more tempting proposition and give Google's new wearable a head start over rivals like the Apple Watch, which requires a separate monthly payment for its Apple Fitness Plus service.
We'll be keeping a close eye out for more news on project Rohan, and will bring you more news as soon as we have it. Details of Fitbit devices rarely leak far in advance, but renders of both the Fitbit Charge 5 and the Fitbit Ace 3 appeared ahead of their launches, so it's possible that extra details may emerge before any official announcements.
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