Fitbit Updates Ionic Smartwatch With More Apps

Fitbit Updates Ionic Smartwatch With More Apps

Now, Fitbit is tackling both concerns - and more - with the smartwatch's first major update.

First introduced in October, the Fitbit Ionic offers advanced health and fitness features, including personalized training, running companion, and swim mode. These include Uber, The New York Times, Flipboard, and more.

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. Some of those apps (like The New York Times, Yelp, and Hue Lights) will be available starting today, but the majority are slated as coming "before the end of the year" or in January. The streaming service is hoping to pick up some new devotees by bringing offline streaming to the watch. The inclusion of a third-party app store was one of the ways the company was looking to set the device apart from the rest of its products, and aside from a couple of high profile partners, there really wasn't much worth mentioning.

The software update also brings nearly 30 free apps and more than 80 watch faces to the App Gallery from smaller developers, which will finally give Ionic owners something to do on their wrists.

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Worldwide customers will gain access to on-device offline music streaming via Deezer, but they'll have to wait until next year.

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".

Enhancements such as faster touch interactions and updates to Fitbit Pay, including the introduction of multi-card payments directly on-device and expanded banks. One new watch app on the way from Fitbit Labs will track tennis swings and offer a shot breakdown to help users improve their game, for example.

Fitbit Leaderboard - View your step goals and other activity against friends and family members. Throughout my time with the Fitbit Ionic, I've found Fitbit OS to be too laggy, nearly to the point where I don't want to wear the watch at all.

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