Check Yelp, Flipboard, More on Fitbit Ionic

Andrew Cummings
December 6, 2017

The Fitbit OS update announced today, December 5, adds 14 new apps to the new Fitbit App Store, although some aren't quite ready for public release.

The Fitbit Ionic is Fitbit's first true smartwatch, and although not flawless, it's a great step in the right direction for the company.

Highlights include apps for Uber, Philips Hue, Yelp, and Flipboard. Apps for controlling your smart home devices, like Nest and Hue, debut as well, in addition to entries from Flipboard and United Airlines. 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. Deezer's also getting in on the action next year, becoming the second notable music service after Pandora to buy in to the Ionic ecosystem. Plus, the company has expanded its network to include 25 banks across three networks in 13 markets, and more countries and banks are expected to roll out next year.

It's been a few months since Fitbit took on Apple and Google with a smartwatch of its own.

Now CEO James Park is strongly pursuing upmarket customers with the $300 Ionic.

Finally, the San Francisco company is adding a new early access testing program called Fitbit Labs.

Ionic has a way to go on the smartwatch front with the absence of quality apps being one of its biggest criticisms. As news site the Verge pointed out its review of the Ionic, the watch has impressive battery life and strong fitness tracking features, but it lacked even basic apps such as messaging, calendar, and maps. The watch does show messaging, calendar and other basic notifications from a linked smartphone. The launch software was pretty bare bones, but the new version brings a ton of new apps and watch faces, along with performance improvements.

Now there is a whole bunch of new apps available via a software update - more than 60 to be precise. And more bank cards will be usable with the watch's mobile payments app, too.

Introduction of Fitbit Labs, an initiative led by Fitbit's Research and Development team that is focused on building unique apps and clock faces from the latest smart technologies and behavioral insights.

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