The acquisition deal may still be incomplete, but Google and Fitbit are already bridging the gap between the two wearable platforms. No, Fitbit still has its own operating system, but this latest update to version 5.1 puts at least two of its smartwatches closer to the Google Wear OS. Going beyond Amazon Alexa, Fitbit is now opening the doors of Sense and Versa 3 to Google Assistant, while adding more health monitoring features that make smartwatches even better than before.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are definitely tied in this market, but some prefer each other, depending on the other devices they have at home. To give customers more options, Fitbit OS 5.1 adds support for Google Assistant so you can control your smart home devices, catch up on the news and the weather, or even schedule restaurants or services, even if you don’t have one Wear Smartwatch OS. One problem is that this feature is only available in the US for now, with an expansion to other markets later this year.
Fitbit is also giving Alexa users a bone, though only temporarily. The update brings the ability to receive audible responses from Alexa now, a feature that, according to Fitbit, will arrive at the implementation of Google Assistant sometime in the first half of 2021.
In addition to the features of the smart assistant, the update also brings a new capability to the smartwatches SpO2 sensor. Blood oxygen levels can now be measured even while sleeping and users will be able to track their levels on the Fitbit mobile app or, if they want it to always be available at a glance, on one of the seven new SpO2 watch faces that will arrive later this year.
Fitbit is practically the grandfather of smart wearables and some may consider it too old to compete, especially against something like the Apple Watch. The company, however, still maintains a large market share, especially for those less concerned with smartwatch apps, and this latest update to Fitbit OS 5.1 gives users more things to do with their devices.