After a two-year wait, the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 will send this September, adopted by way of the long-delayed Pixel Watch in October. All 3 watches are necessarily “Google health watches” now: Fitbit is incorporating Google Maps and ditching Fitbit Pay for Google Wallet whilst bringing again Google Assistant make stronger, and the Pixel Watch will combine Fitbit gear like Active Zone Minutes and Fitbit Premium.
We have no idea but how a lot the Pixel Watch will value, however it is a honest guess it’s going to value someplace between the $280 Galaxy Watch 5 and $400 Apple Watch Series 7. Given the Fitbit Sense 2 will value $300 and the Versa 4 $230, they are going to undercut the Pixel Watch with an identical options, iOS, and Android make stronger, and a one-month head get started.
It’s now not unparalleled for an organization to launch 3 an identical merchandise immediately (see the S22/ Plus/ Ultra or iPhone 13/ Pro/ Max). But although the Pixel Watch is the “Ultra” watch of the team with higher app make stronger and function, the inexpensive Fitbits will very most likely be higher in spaces like sensors and battery existence. Usually a flagship software is meant to be the entire package and caboodle, now not a compromise.
Google might personal Fitbit, however it is honest to wonder if Fitbit’s 2022 resurgence and device merge might be to Google’s (and Wear OS’) detriment.
Fitbit: Poised for a comeback
When Google first introduced Wear OS 3 in May 2021, Fitbit CEO James Park mentioned they deliberate to make “top rate smartwatches in response to Wear that mix the perfect of Fitbit’s well being experience with Google’s ambient computing functions.” The herbal assumption was once that its subsequent flagship watch, the Fitbit Sense 2, would run Wear OS as a substitute of Fitbit OS.
But “in response to Wear” grew to become out to be extra of a Wear-Fitbit hybrid. It provides some Google apps and “customizable, glanceable tiles” that “create an more straightforward, more practical, and sooner strategy to get right of entry to the data you care about maximum.”
Our authentic Fitbit Sense reviewer was once very underwhelmed with the device revel in, calling it gradual and complicated to navigate. We can hope that the Sense 2 and Versa 4 homeowners will have the benefit of those customized tiles to temporarily pull up the health knowledge you want, in addition to obtain a UI velocity spice up.
Still, even with Google’s UI design invading the watch, you will not get the complete Wear OS library of apps, only some Fitbit-compatible apps like Spotify and Starbucks. You’d desire a correctly tough chipset to run the rest extra hard or in-sync together with your phone, and that will cripple the Sense 2’s 6-day battery existence.
The new Fitbit watches upload a diet-sized inflow of Google’s computing experience and apps without having battery-guzzling RAM or shutting out part of Fitbit’s userbase on iOS. Fitbit may have firstly meant to make use of Wear OS 3, however 15 months after the machine introduced, handiest the Galaxy Watch collection and the $1,300 Montblanc Summit 3 have controlled to make it paintings, with different manufacturers nonetheless suffering so as to add it to way of life watches with a variety of processing energy.
Plus, as a result of they stick with a more practical OS, the Versa 4 and Sense 2 handiest want one flush button and a touchscreen. The Pixel Watch makes use of a rotating crown that’ll make complicated navigation a lot more straightforward…and can dig into your wrist when you bend it the mistaken manner all the way through a fitness center regimen.
The Wear-Fitbit hybrid will let the emblem launch new smartwatches extra temporarily at a time after they desperately want some gross sales good fortune, with new gear like Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation to drum up pleasure.
Fitbit offered 10.6 million gadgets remaining 12 months — a lot of which have been most likely health trackers like the Inspire 2 and Charge 5 — and claimed about 3.6% of the smartwatch marketplace in spite of now not liberating any new watches, as in line with Counterpoint Research (opens in new tab). That put it in the identical vary as smaller manufacturers like Amazfit and Garmin, and dipped from the 5.7% marketplace percentage Fitbit had in 2020.
The Fitbit Sense 2 provides a fab Body Response sensor — this is, cool if you wish to monitor your tension ranges with steady electrodermal process (cEDA), which might handiest tension me out much more. Otherwise, the new Versa and Sense basically upload a brand new button…and now not a lot else. It’s the promise of Google apps and higher efficiency that’ll get other folks thinking about an improve, if the rest.
So in that sense (sorry), Google’s Pixel Watch with Fitbit integration may compete for the identical marketplace percentage of Google enthusiasts.
Pixel Watch: Who is it for?
It’s unimaginable to totally pass judgement on how the Pixel Watch and Fitbit Sense 2 will evaluate till Google absolutely unveils its watch. Leaked information and a few knowledgeable assumptions can do a little of the speculating for us: It will (allegedly) run on an out of date Exynos chipset present in the authentic Galaxy Watch 1, paired with an enormous 2GB of RAM and an industry-average 300mAh battery that’ll more than likely remaining one complete day in line with rate. And it’s going to run Wear OS 3 with Material You-style colours built-in into the UI.
Faster (if now not groundbreaking) efficiency, prettier menus, extra apps, and the skill to stay your phone unlocked if the watch is within reach, all at a related value. In concept, the Pixel Watch appears like a sensible cut price in comparison to the Fitbit Sense 2, no?
My colleague Andrew Myrick is worked up for the Pixel Watch to finish Google’s software ecosystem so it could actually be offering interconnectivity very similar to what Apple provides. And my different colleague Derrek Lee hopes Google will use the Pixel Watch to extra frequently check and push out Wear OS updates, very similar to how its Pixel telephones promise annual device enhancements to all of Android.
In different phrases, there is a lot driving in this watch with tech bros and gals that see the Pixel Watch as an indication of items to return. If it succeeds, it could be a feather in Google’s cap. But its definition of good fortune — or how a lot smartwatch marketplace percentage it could actually declare — is some other subject.
Samsung offered 48 million smartwatches in 2021, in comparison to 162 million Apple Watches (as in line with IDC). Compare this knowledge to the 272 million Samsung telephones and 239 million Apple telephones offered that 12 months (in line with Gartner (opens in new tab)), and it displays Samsung’s customers do not purchase Wear OS (or Tizen) watches at a particularly prime charge.
And different Wear OS manufacturers like Fossil (2.2% of all smartwatch gross sales) don’t seem to be specifically common both.
Google assists in keeping its Pixel gross sales numbers lovely hidden, however we all know the Pixel 6 outperformed the anemic gross sales of the 4 and 5, and the Pixel 6a will have to do a lot better than the limited-release 5a. So I’d estimate they quantity someplace in the low ten thousands and thousands, now not counting older telephones like the 3a on their remaining legs — and the Pixel 7 will have to upload to that quantity.
If we think Google has a an identical percentage of Pixel customers purchasing an eye as Samsung, its gross sales would handiest quantity in the low thousands and thousands. Yes, different Android customers could purchase it, nevertheless it may not have the identical enchantment for Samsung customers that may purchase that corporate’s personal smartwatch as a substitute, or with Android customers dwelling the place Pixel telephones don’t seem to be broadly used.
Based on the leaked Pixel Watch unit present in a cafe in April, Google made the Pixel Watch 14mm thick. And consider me, that is thick: evaluate that to the 10.5mm Galaxy Watch 5 Pro or 11.4mm Sense 2.
We additionally have no idea which Fitbit options will make it onto the Pixel Watch, even though I’ve a wishlist. Obviously the sports activities modes, sleep monitoring, and steady center charge will switch over. But will it get sensors for pores and skin temperature, tension, or on-demand ECG like the Fitbit Sense 2 has? The Galaxy Watch collection has a package of sensors that tracks the whole thing from blood drive to frame composition; if the Pixel Watch cannot fit that or the Sense 2 whilst costing the identical, it’s going to make fitness-focused shoppers really feel like they are lacking out.
Choosing the proper Google health smartwatch
Is the Pixel Watch tempting? Absolutely. If it seems the manner it will have to, it’s going to synthesize the perfect that Fitbit and Google have to provide, with a variety of sensors and a made over Wear OS revel in that makes it extra aggressive towards extra well known manufacturers. I’ve indisputably it’s going to be one among the most sensible Android smartwatches to be had.
But if I will be able to get all the core Google apps and phone notifications on the Versa 4 for inexpensive, or extra well being knowledge and an additional 5 days of battery existence for the identical value on the Sense 2, that could be similarly tempting.
I take a look at leaks like this Fitbit app APK teardown revealing that the Pixel Watch will desire a 30% rate “to trace a complete evening’s sleep,” paired with the information that it’s going to take 110 mins to totally recharge the battery, and that you will have to pay $10/month for Fitbit Premium… and I’ve to marvel what number of health enthusiasts outdoor of Pixel fans will in finding it compelling. Apple will get away with it, however the Pixel Watch is a extra unproven commodity with a much less forgiving fanbase than Apple customers.
A platform-agnostic Fitbit software that provides you with a core Wear OS-lite revel in could thieve a variety of the Pixel Watch’s attainable shoppers, neatly prior to it even ships.