Health weight loss fitness news
In its days of infancy, the smartwatch industry wasn’t as health-oriented as it is today. Selling pitches of Android smartwatch manufacturers would majorly consist of features that would position them as communication devices that would limit the times you reached out to the phone sitting in your pocket. But the industry’s changed its face. Now, health-oriented features take the most stage time during launches.
It’s because of this very reason that Google’s acquisition of Fitbit is an exciting one and is expected to finally give the California-based a much-needed resurrection. Google set sail with smartwatches when it first introduced Wear OS (previously known as Android Wear) in 2014. But since Android still hadn’t sown the seeds for hardware back then, it worked with third-party manufacturers to bring Android smartwatches to the market. ASUS, LG and Samsung were amongst the first OEMs to come out with smartwatches.
But as it was back then, Android Wear just seemed to be the start of something bigger and better. But even with successive updates and the addition of new features, Wear OS never felt as robust as what Apple did with Watch OS and its Apple Watch. The half-baked OS is what pushed Samsung (and others) to switch and invest in its in-house operating system, Tizen OS.
Fast forward to the present and Apple has dominated the smartwatch segment. Samsung and Huawei are also doing a pretty good job with smartwatches that run on their respective operating systems. As far as Wear OS is concerned, there are a few OEMs that do make smartwatches that run on it. Fossil is one of the most prominent names but even its latest attempt – the Fossil Gen 5 – was let down by Qualcomm’s outdated chip for wearables and Google’s not-so-robust Wear OS.
The Fitbit potential
Google’s acquisition of HTC’s R&D team is what helped Google push its hardware portfolio including the Pixel phones, tablets and laptops amongst other products. For a company that inherently focussed on software, the acquisition of HTC’s team was key in offering better products as they could have more control on the process and offer an end product that was closer to what they drew on the whiteboard.
Unfortunately, the way Google showed an “ideal” Android smartphone and experience with its then Nexus and now Pixel brand of devices, it didn’t do the same for smartwatches. Rumours of Google launching its hardware have been floating around for quite a while now. But as we all know, Google hasn’t come through with a first-party watch.
But with the acquisition of Fitbit, it’s likely that it won’t be too long before we see a smartwatch from Google. After all, Fitbit is one of the most popular and prominent wearables manufacturers in the world. With its devices, that range from fitness trackers like the Inspire HR and the Charge 3 to smartwatches like the Fitbit Versa 2, Fitbit has a truckload of experience with hardware. Not only hardware, Fitbit also offers one of the most comprehensive fitness tracking experiences out there, thanks to its companion application.
Not only do Fitbit products offer an intricately detailed insight into health-related information, they even bundle training plans and an in-app social network to further enhance the experience. Now, with a base like this, imagine the experiences Google could build on top of it with its expertise in Android.
A recent survey floated out by Google also points towards Google’s efforts of ramping up health-oriented features on Wear OS with features like SPO2 tracking, sleep apnea detecting, sleep analysis, and automatic workout detection.
Apple’s recent models of the Apple Watch have made large waves in the market, particularly because of their emphasis on health and wellness related features like ECG and fall detection amongst others. Now, with Fitbit on its side, Google too can whip up a wonderful recipe that marries finessed hardware with tactful software to offer a Wear OS smartwatch that we’ve been asking for, for a while now.
Not only that, another meaningful Wear OS revamp might even put something on the table for existing Wear OS-based smartwatch manufacturers to look forward to.