It’s been a few months since Fitbit took on Apple and Google with a smartwatch of its own. Called the Ionic, this Fitbit wearable boasted a long battery life, water resistance, and the ability to make payments. But alas, for the last few months, many folks have lamented the rather limited functionality of the Fitbit as a result of its limited selection of apps. But now, Fitbit has announced its first major update to the Fitbit OS, promising to provide users with a “smarter, more personalized experience through an expanding collection of new apps and clock faces.”
First and foremost, the Fitbit Ionic will now include apps from a number of popular brands, starting with Phillips Hue, Yelp, Flipboard, and The New York Times. While these might not be the most exciting apps for many smartwatch users, there are more apps coming down the pipeline soon (which is to say, by the end of the year). These apps include Uber, Clue, Nest, TripAdvisor, and United Airlines. And by January, Fitbit expects even more apps to join the platform, including Lyft and Walgreens.
“Each app was made for Fitbit Ionic — literally — meaning you’ll be treated to an intuitive wrist-first experience that organizes information related to your needs and interests into a glanceable, easy-to-navigate format,” Fitbit noted in an announcement. “Best of all, these apps work regardless of whether you’re an Android, iOS, or Windows users, saving you from having to choose between your smartphone and your smartwatch.”
The Fitbit OS update also comes with faster touch interactions and more convenient options for Fitbit Pay, the company’s contactless payment module. Thanks to the update, users can select which credit or debit card they’d like to use, all from their wrist. Plus, the company has expanded its network to include 25 banks across three networks in 13 markets, and more countries and banks are expected to roll out next year. Also in 2018, Fitbit expects to debut a new partnership with international streaming music service Deezer, which will help users take streaming music with them even without a mobile device.
“Ionic has received strong, positive reviews regarding its leading health and fitness-focused features, long battery life, platform compatibility, and more. With this update, we are delivering on our promise to enhance the smart experience with popular apps, intelligent clock faces, and new motivating tools that help you reach your goals,” said Jon Oakes, VP of product at Fitbit. “This is just the start – along with future enhancements to the Fitbit OS, we have an extremely engaged global developer community excited to continually bring even more unique offerings to our users.”