Google IO 2022 has come and gone and no Fitbit running premium Wear OS has been announced, despite last year’s promises it was being worked on. Instead, we have the Pixel Watch built into Fitbit.
All Fitbit-branded devices currently run on Fitbit’s own operating system, Fitbit OS. But following the fitness tracker maker’s acquisition by Google in 2021, Fitbit CEO James Park revealed that the two companies were working together on a “premium” Fitbit smartwatch running Wear OS on Google IO l ‘last year.
No Fitbit-branded device was forthcoming. Instead, the long-awaited Pixel Watch debuted with “deep Fitbit integration.” Details are scarce at this time, but we do know that the Pixel Watch will at least cover sleep tracking, active zone minutes, and heart rate. It’s likely that Fitbit will replace the Google Fit app, but it’s unclear whether Pixel Watch buyers will need to subscribe to Fitbit Premium to get the most out of their new watch.
We also don’t know if some of Fitbit’s more advanced features like irregular heartbeat detection and ECG scans will come to the Pixel Watch.
In an interview with CNET, Fitbit founder James Park said, “The Pixel Watch will be part of a family of devices from Google and Fitbit that fit into different price ranges. So you can have super premium devices under the Pixel brand. And then we’ll continue to have Fitbit devices at other price points as well.”
The next two Fitbit-branded smartwatches will likely be the Fitbit Versa 4 and the Fitbit Sense 2, a pair of devices that will replace their predecessors as the most advanced fitness watches in the Fitbit stable. Code for the devices that was leaked in March suggests that the two new additions will still work on Fitbit OS, so it’s likely that any plans for a “real” smartwatch from Fitbit will have been on the Pixel.
Review: Say goodbye to WearOS Fitbit
The long-awaited Pixel Watch is said to have been in development since before Fitbit’s acquisition was a glimmer in Alphabet’s eyes. Fitbit’s advanced suite of health and fitness tools is superior to Google Fit, so rather than modernizing Wear OS in Fitbit’s planned watches after the acquisition closes, it makes sense to do the exact opposite. and choose which Fitbit technology to integrate into the Pixel Watch.
The announcement probably means we can say goodbye to a true Wear OS Fitbit smartwatch. After all, what is it still for? If the vaunted Fitbit integration goes as far as last night’s presentation suggested, there’s no need for what is essentially a duplicate, slightly different-branded device. This Venn diagram would look almost like a single circle.
When it comes to new Fitbit releases, the most likely outcome is that we’ll see the Versa 4 and Sense 2 arrive sometime later this year (likely within a few weeks, according to recent leaks) running Fitbit OS as expected. Fitbit could then reduce its smartwatch offerings and focus on trackers and off-wrist solutions for health metrics, leaving Wear OS to the Pixel Watch line.