Fitbit has announced it plans to take Apple Watch head on. Released via responses on Fitbit customer forums, the smart watch firm confirmed they had no plans to integrate with Apple's newly released Health app, instead focusing on developing their own competing wearable device.
"We do not currently have plans to integrate with HealthKit… It is an interesting new platform and we will watch as it matures, looking for opportunities to improve the Fitbit experience. At the moment, we’re working on other exciting projects that we think will be valuable to users"
The resulting product is the Fitbit Surge, a premium device complete with built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring. Offering a more sophisticated system, it offers a wider range of ways users can track and monitor their data, using the best of competitor technology to appeal to fitness fanatics. Furthermore, it is due for release in time for the holiday season, beating Apple to the punch by several months.
This is not to say Fitbit will not move to integrate with Health at a later date, with the firm asking users:
“The question we want you to keep in mind when providing feedback is: What do you imagine a HealthKit integration would entail and what do you expect to get out of it?… Your voices are being heard. We’re actively reviewing your responses and providing feedback to our product development team.”
Regardless, Apple has responded by removing Fitbit products for sale from their Apple stores. Fitbit is not the only one refusing to integrate their data with the iPhone app at this point in time. Smart watch pioneer Pebble (also sold through Apple stores) have added background sleep and activity monitoring to their products, with a permanent price drop to sweeten the deal.
Similarly, Basis, an Intel company, has launched another smart watch named Peak, with includes heart-rate monitoring. Of course, main competitor Samsung has also created the Gear S, which includes an accelerometer, gyroscope, UV detector, barometer, as well as the usual GPS and heart-rate monitor, with their own health data ecosystem.
Despite this, Apple still has a legion of collaborators working together to aggregate data from devices into the iPhone app. Device companies MisFit Wearables and Withings are developing ways to integrate with the Apple ecosystem. App developers MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, and Strava are also working to seamlessly feed their application data into Apple Health. The benefits are mutual; Apple is more likely to feature apps that will work with their software, therefore creating more shelf-space and exposure for complying firms.
As the smart watch movement enters the mainstream, it will no doubt be an interesting marketplace to observe over the next few months. With this many strong competitors, it is difficult to make predictions as to whether Apple will dominate this market as well.
Will you be buying a smart watch? If so, which one? Let me know in the comments below.
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* Smart Watch Image via Shutterstock