Monday, 10 December, 2018

The Fitbit Ionic's first major update adds new apps and watchfaces

The Fitbit Ionic's first major update adds new apps and watchfaces The Fitbit Ionic's first major update adds new apps and watchfaces
Theresa Hayes | 06 December, 2017, 00:54

Fitbit is adding some more high-profile apps to its new Ionic smartwatch to better compete against rival devices from Apple, Samsung, and Garmin. Fitbit says more than 1,000 developers have already started building apps or clock faces for the Ionic, while there are over 5,000 developers that have joined the company's new developer community and registered for the public SDK.

New apps from popular brands (including The New York Times, Uber, Yelp, and more) and developers across a variety of categories, such as Food & Drink, Games, Health & Fitness, Home and IOT, News, and Travel & Transit. On the apps side of things, some of the big names include Walgreens, Nest, Philips Hue, Yelp, Flipboard, The New York Times, TripAdvisor, Uber, United Airlines, British Airways, and Lyft. In 2018 you'll be able to link up your Deezer account with your Ionic and listen to music you've uploaded to the watch's storage.

Now CEO James Park is strongly pursuing upmarket customers with the $300 Ionic.

The company also introduced several user-created apps heading to the platform, including: Jacadi, a matching game; Pill Tracker, an app that will remind you when to take your next dose of medicine; and Tips, which can help you calculate gratuity. As news site the Verge pointed out its review of the Ionic, the watch has impressive battery life and strong fitness tracking features, but it lacked even basic apps such as messaging, calendar, and maps.

The apps will be available in English globally by the end of the year, Fitbit wrote in a blog post. "Its biggest flaw is that it is not, in any meaningful way, an interactive smartwatch", the review noted.

Lastly, Fitbit is adding a new early access testing program for the Ionic called Fitbit Labs, which will allow users to test out "experimental apps and clock faces".

Note that all apps and clock faces in the Fitbit App Gallery are free to download, but some, like Pandora, require a paid subscription or one-time activation fee.

Jon Oakes, Fitbit's vice president of product, said the update was "just the start" of planned future enhancements.

For instructions on installing the Fitbit OS update, head here. The company is using its savoir faire in data analysis and behavioral sciences "to test potential new features in the form of experimental apps and smart clock faces created to motivate users and drive behavior change", it wrote.