Fitbit's smartwatch finally gets its first update


Fitbit OS was quite laggy, and there were only a handful of third-party apps available at launch. Now, Fitbit is tackling both concerns - and more - with the smartwatch's first major update. Perhaps most significantly, the Fitbit Ionic promises four days of battery life on a single charge. Some of those apps (like The New York Times, Yelp, and Hue Lights) will be available starting today, but the majority are slated as coming "before the end of the year" or in January. Fitbit says more than 1,000 developers have already started building apps or clock faces for the Ionic, while there are over 5,000 developers that have joined the company's new developer community and registered for the public SDK.

Note that all apps and clock faces in the Fitbit App Gallery are free to download, but some, like Pandora, require a paid subscription or one-time activation fee. Also in 2018, Fitbit expects to debut a new partnership with worldwide streaming music service Deezer, which will help users take streaming music with them even without a mobile device.

Lastly, Fitbit is adding a new early access testing program for the Ionic called Fitbit Labs, which will allow users to test out "experimental apps and clock faces". The only program available at launch will be a "Pet" clock face that gives users a virtual companion to care for with their step achievements, while other apps like a Mood Log, sport-specific tennis support, and more activity incentive games are expected before the end of the year.

At-a-glance access to your personal friend network with the new Fitbit Leaderboard app. See where you stack up against family, friends and coworkers as you motivate each other to reach your goals.

This update helps with the Fitbit OS lag.

Enhancements such as faster touch interactions and updates to Fitbit Pay, including the introduction of multi-card payments directly on-device and expanded banks.

It's been a few months since Fitbit took on Apple and Google with a smartwatch of its own. And after using this new software update on my Ionic for a few minutes, I'm happy to report that numerous lag issues are gone.

This update is rolling out to the Ionic now, and instructions on how to get it can be found here.