Wearables

Fitbit Updates App, Announces Partnerships

Despite releasing no new devices at CES this year, Fitbit had plenty to announce, most of it involving new partnerships and upgrades to its app. “2016 was all about hardware,” explained Jamie Kelly, product marketing manager. “2017 is about revamping the software experience.”

Its new app includes a Facebook-like feed where you can connect friends, family and like-minded people to get workout support and inspiration. The community feature launches in March in the U.S. and later this year globally. In January, Fitbit also added more personalized goal setting to its app to help users create ambitious, yet still attainable, health goals. In February, smartwatch hybrid Fitbit Blaze will receive new features to measure cardio fitness and help with relaxation. Fitbit also redesigned its Fitstar Personal Trainer app, adding recommended workouts based on the wearer’s daily activity, among other features. “With these latest advancements, we’re delivering even more ways to interact with your social network and provide a smarter, more tailored experience,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO in a press release.

Fitbit also announced new partnerships with brands Habit, Peloton and VirZOOM. Habit, a personalized nutrition system, leverages Fitbit data to create customized food recommendations and nutrition plans. Peloton, a high-end stationary bike company, will automatically share post-ride metrics to your Fitbit app. VirZOOM offers a similar experience. A platform for online multiplayer virtual reality sports games, VirZOOM lets players strap on a VR headset and ride a bicycle in the physical world, while flying like a Pegasus or rumbling in a tank in the virtual world, gamifying your workout goals. “We embrace new partnerships with brands that share our goal of creating experiences that enable people to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle, and we are always looking for fun, innovative ways to keep our community engaged and motivated on their health and fitness journey,” said Tim Rosa, Fitbit senior vice president and chief marketing officer in a press release.

Don’t rule out another hardware release from Fitbit going forward, however. There are many signs that point to its intention to release a more robust smartwatch than the Blaze. Last year, the company bought the Pebble smartwatch brand, and more recently, it acquired Vector, a European smartwatch company, which made devices with a proprietary operating system, e-ink screens and an advertised 30-day battery life. Plus, Fitbit  CEO Park told The Verge in an interview at CES that the company wants to launch its own wearable app store “as soon as possible.”