Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Fitbit's smartwatch finally gets its first update

Fitbit Updates Ionic Smartwatch With More Apps Fitbit Ionic update brings new apps, watch faces, banks, and Fitbit Labs
Terence Owen | 06 December, 2017, 03:48

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". They're not all really notable, but there are enough big names on the list to warrant a second look at Fitbit's first true smartwatch.

Some of the new apps arrive at the height of the holiday gift buying season, so perhaps they'll make the Ionic a more tempting, Android compatible alternative to the Apple Watch.

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. It's a bummer, of course, that the product didn't launch with this full an app selection, but if nothing else, it shows that Fitbit's committed to building the thing up as quickly as possible.

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Fitbit has also designed three new watchfaces for the Ionic that are bundled with the new update: levels, threads, and mountainscape.

Fitbit created a couple of goodies as well, including a Leaderboard app that will let you see how your step totals compare to family and friends. Also in 2018, Fitbit expects to debut a new partnership with global streaming music service Deezer, which will help users take streaming music with them even without a mobile device. Developing for yet another new app store is a pain, but at least Fitbit's making the job a little simpler. The program kicks off with a Think Fast app that aims to test mental alertness, and Fitbit Pet which is a fitness game mixed with a virtual pet app. 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". 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).

Ionic has a way to go on the smartwatch front with the absence of quality apps being one of its biggest criticisms. There were no apps outside the pre-installed ones available at launch, so this update will finally open the door to more developers.

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