At CES last week, Fitbit CEO James Park announced the company’s plans to launch a dedicated wearables app store later this year. Few details were given about it, but we do know that it’ll be a portal for health and wellness apps.
With the its stock value in decline and the public demand weakening for Fitbit’s current products, the company really needs something new in 2017 to keep them relevant. There’s a lot of potential here, so we’ve taken a look at five reasons why you should be excited and intrigued by this development.
1. It means a Fitbit smartwatch is all but certain
Fitbit bought struggling smartwatch firm, Pebble, just at the end of the year. Pebble fans had their reasons to not like that decision, but it is what it is. If that wasn’t enough, the company also acquired the Vector smartwatch startup as well. Presumably, these acquisitions and its App Store plan are linked. After all, there has to be some kind of product coming that would work with an App Store, given latest models wouldn’t be capable of doing so.
It seems likely that we’ll soon see a Fitbit branded smartwatch that uses Pebble’s OS, while possibly maintaining the look of the Fitbit Blaze—Fitbit’s nearest thing to a “proper” smartwatch—or possibly with the look of the Vector smartwatch. The Pebble is a pretty good and inexpensive smartwatch that could make it an ideal candidate for Fitbit to adapt.
2. More competition is always good
There’s a wealth of smartwatches available to consumers, but none have quite cracked it. There’s no one perfect smartwatch. Instead, you have to choose from a set of features that are never quite right for your needs. The Apple Watch Series 2 is close but it’s considerably more expensive than anything Fitbit has offered.
Fitbit’s just leveraged itself into the perfect position to offer an effective fitness band that’s also a useful smartwatch. Could it finally be the smartwatch to convert naysayers? The device that we all wanted the Blaze to be? Regardless, it might push other firms into developing that product.
3. New Fitbits might be even better
Current Fitbits are pretty great if limited. They’re ideal for tracking how many steps you’ve taken, how your heart rate is performing, and how much sleep you’re getting. That’s pretty outdated compared to what a true smartwatch can do.
While no one should expect a lower priced Fitbit to do everything that an Apple Watch can, it’s about time they offered more. How many step trackers does anyone need in their life? An App Store tempting new users in might also be the perfect time to fix those pesky physical issues too. Namely, Fitbit trackers are a little prone to falling apart easily.
4. Unification is good
It feels like such a long time ago, but Apple launching the App Store for iOS changed everything. It simplified the process for everyone, opening up a wealth of potential and options for anyone who wanted a different app for something.
While it probably won’t have same impact as Apple’s iOS store, imagine a portal exclusively aimed at fitness and wellness. That could be Fitbit’s App Store. Fitbit can enjoy building on your loyalty, while you can enjoy everything just working. It’s something that would be particularly useful for those more inexperienced with technology. Want to get your older relative involved in wearables? This could be the ideal path to take.
5. The App Store might be more corporate
Corporate doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Except it could be. Fitbit has a strong and well developed corporate wellness business side of things. Many companies issue Fitbits to their employers. The App Store might be more about giving those partners a place to develop their own apps and brand them accordingly.
That might not sound like the “hot new thing,” but it might mean your employer is more willing to issue you with a Fitbit or unnamed Fitbit smartwatch. And a free wearable is a free wearable, right? How about one that works like your ID badge but with more features? It could be a small insight into a significant change for the future.