Fitbit is well known in the activity tracking field but it has yet to fully take the leap into the smartwatch world. The Fitbit Blaze was an attempt at bridging the gap between fitness tracker and smartwatch but it isn't an Apple Watch or Android Wear competitor.
Since the launch of the Blaze however, Fitbit has bought smartwatch companies Pebble and Vector, as well as mobile payment company Coin and now the company is confirmed to be working on a "make or break" smartwatch.
Here is everything we know so far about the new Fitbit smartwatch, which is reportedly codenamed Project Higgs.
Fitbit GPS smartwatch rumours: Design
- Expect to see same interchangeable mechanism as Charge 2 and Alta HR
- Waterproofing confirmed by CEO
- Square, coloured display rumoured like Blaze
Fitbit's next smartwatch could follow in the design footsteps of the Fitbit Blaze, if a leak from Yahoo Finance is to be believed. The leaked image show a very similar device to the Blaze but with a few changes.
There appears to be a square coloured display like the Blaze, but there is no gap between the screen and what looks like the company's signature textured elastomer band. The Blaze has a screen module that slots into a frame, while the new smartwatch appears to take design tips from the more recent Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Alta HR devices.
We would assume the smartwatch will feature the interchangeable strap mechanism on the latest activity trackers, rather than requiring a full frame change for a new strap like the Blaze. If this is the case, the strap will be able to be unclipped from the underside of the device and replaced easily.
Based on the leak, there will be two function buttons on the right of the screen and a buckle fastening mechanism on the strap itself. We would also assume there will be a PurePulse heart rate monitor on the underside of the display, as well charging pins for attaching what will likely be another bulldog-style charging cable.
The Verge has claimed this is the first time Fitbit is designing its own device rather than contracting the design out to another company, but if the leaked image is legitimate, it suggests the new smartwatch will still continue in the same path as the company's new trackers.
Fitbit GPS smartwatch rumours: Features
- Built-in GPS confirmed and NFC expected
- Heart-rate monitor rumoured, as well as four-day battery
- Fitbit thought to be introducing own app store, likely to use Pebble acquisition to help
Rumours originally suggested the new Fitbit smartwatch will feature GPS, like the Fitbit Surge, rather than just Connected GPS like the Charge 2 and Fitbit's CEO has now confirmed this. He also claimed the smartwatch will feature sensors beyond the 'regular' ones such as heart rate monitoring and accelerometers.
It is also thought it will come with NFC for mobile payments, a heart rate monitor and a four-day battery life, the latter of which would be a day less than the Blaze if accurate.
It is likely that the new smartwatch will offer everything the Blaze already offers too, including smartphone notifications, Multi-Sport tracking, On-Screen workouts, Cardio Fitness Level, Guided Breathing Sessions and music control, as well as a few additional extras.
Those extras are likely to lean on the Pebble platform, perhaps opening the door for wider compatibility with services and apps. It's thought Fitbit is working with streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify to offer built-in support too.
Other reports suggest the Fitbit smartwatch will run on its own OS, rather than using the likes of Google's Android Wear. If this is true, it would need its own app store, though this is apparently causing a few issues. A Bloomberg report suggests several people working on the project have left, consequently affecting the development of this app store.
In other news, we'd also expect to see the new sleep tracking functionality that launched on the Alta HR present on the new device, allowing users to see light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep durations.
As we mentioned previously, it looks like the new Fitbit smartwatch will have a coloured touchscreen and reports have suggested the company is planning on launching its own app store at some point in 2017 so it is likely we can expect to see a different interface too, or compatibility with more third party apps.
This will hopefully also transfer into smartphone notifications for the likes of Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp rather than just texts, calls and calendar alerts as the Charge 2, Alta HR and Blaze currently offer. Notifications was something that Pebble tackled well, so we'd expect to see a lot of control running into the hew Fitbit.
Naturally, as you would expect from any smartwatch or activity tracker these days, the new Fitbit will almost certainly track steps, distance, elevation and calories burned, in addition to the other features mentioned above.
Fitbit GPS smartwatch rumours: Release date and price
- Educated guess would suggest IFA 2017
- Likely to cost around £200
Fitbit doesn't tend to follow a specific release pattern for its devices, though it does tend to launch new products either at or around the big trade shows.
The Blaze was revealed at CES 2016, the Charge 2 and Flex 2 both arrived just before consumer electronics trade show IFA in 2016, while the Alta HR was announced around Mobile World Congress 2017.
An educated guess would suggest the new Fitbit smartwatch will appear around IFA 2017, which takes place at the end of August. Fitbit might surprise us all and announce early, but given there have been reported delays, we'd say IFA is the most likely launch platform.
In terms of price, the Blaze currently starts at £159.99, while the Surge costs £199.99. We'd therefore expect the new smartwatch to be more expensive than the Blaze but hopefully around the same as the Surge.
Fitbit GPS smartwatch rumours: Conclusion
Fitbit has yet to confirm details of the new smartwatch but its CEO has previously confirmed the company will be expanding into the category so we can expect one at some point.
Based on the leaks, we're expecting a device similar to the Blaze but with the new design ethos like the Charge 2 and Alta HR. We're also expecting all the same features as the current Blaze, along with built-in GPS, hopefully waterproofing and a few extra functions.
We will keep you updated on any further leaks and rumours we hear.