Fitbit has been struggling as a company to build a competitive advantage for years, but this week they have done something that will either kill or rejuvenate the company: they have announced the release of their own smartwatch. The Fitbit Ionic is set to ship in October and will come with a lot of changes to the Fitbits we are used to at this point.
Perhaps the biggest change is that the smartwatch will have the Fitbit OS (operating system) on it, which will allow for the installation of third-party applications. This crossover into the world of applications will hopefully allow the Ionic to offer a product whose utility will scale significantly as developers start catering to users.
All of the features previously available in Fitbits, such as color touchscreen, notification support, music control, GPS tracking, water resistance and swim tracking will be present in the Ionic, but the smartwatch features are hoped to take this to the next level.
With the Fitbit Ionic, we are seeing what could be the next generation in wearables emerge. Fitbit has been struggling for a while as wearables have proven to be more of a toy than a useful tool for improving health. This new bid for relevance will pit Fitbit directly against Apple, a company with much more money and brand value, and the only route to dominance seems to be by delivering better fitness related tools while still handling all of the day-to-day requirements of a watch with smart features.