After deciding late last year that Jawbone was too small of a fish to fry, Fitbit is setting its sights on considerably larger prey — an app store. Fresh off its victory (of sorts) in its patent dispute against ailing competitor Jawbone, Fitbit is looking to launch its own wearable app store “as soon as possible.” This is according to company co-founder and CEO James Park, who spoke at CES about his company’s plans for the new year.
Fitbit’s recent acquisition of Pebble will apparently come in handy in its new endeavor, as Park suggested that the new app store would depend upon some of its newly bought assets, like Pebble’s 14,000 third-party apps. As Park noted, Pebble had already “worked out a lot of the kinks” associated with building an app store, which will now assist Fitbit in its own attempt.
So why build an app store now? According to Park, the company is attempting to build relationships with employers and health care providers using the fitness wearable for corporate wellness programs. Just this week, the company announced a partnership with UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm regarding financial incentives to Fitbit Charge 2 wearers.
“There are so many different applications [our partners] want to write,” Park said, “from fitness-related ones to pill reminder applications. And we don’t have the support in place for that right now, or any software infrastructure on our devices to run those apps.”
But hopefully, that will soon change. While Park didn’t give any details regarding timing, he did note it would be “as soon as possible.” So keep an eye out for a brand new app store that has nothing to do with either your Apple Watch or your Android wearable. Instead, it’s Fitbit that is bursting onto the scene in 2017 and we’ll just have to wait and see what lies ahead.