Beleaguered Fitbit’s smartwatch project continues struggles ahead of debut

“Fitbit Inc., months away from the debut of its smartwatch, has lost several people working on the project and fallen behind on its app store — putting in peril the company’s most important product in years.,” Mark Gurman and Selina Wang report for Bloomberg.

“Hard hit by the sinking popularity of its fitness trackers, Fitbit has bet its future on the smartwatch. But such devices are typically wedded to an ecosystem of compatible devices, apps and services that lure then lock people in,” Gurman and Wang report. “While Fitbit’s watch can play music and handle payments, according to people familiar with the product, a discussed partnership with Spotify failed to materialize and technical challenges mean the app store may not be ready when the watch arrives this fall. Many app developers, meanwhile, are unenthusiastic about Fitbit’s watch.”

“In an emailed statement, Fitbit said the development of the smartwatch and third-party apps ‘are on track’ and that ‘any claims that the developer program is struggling is false,'” Gurman and Wang report. “The company said it’s ‘well positioned to succeed.'”

MacDailyNews Take: “RIM’s foundation is very strong,” RIM’s half-CEO Jim Balsillie said in July 2011. “We’ve faced some challenges,” RIM’s half-CEO Mike Lazaridis told shareholders, who have watched RIM’s share value plummet 60 percent this year as the company hemorrhaged market share to Apple’s iPhone. Lazaridis said the company’s shift to a new architecture for its mobile devices has taken longer than anticipated, adding that RIM is very close to achieving initial carrier certification for new phones that are expected late this summer.

“Fitbit’s watch will be competing with not just Apple Inc. but dozens of cheaper Android products,” Gurman and Wang report. “Investors are skeptical of the company’s prospects, pushing the shares down 55 percent in the past 12 months. They fell a further 2.41 percent to $5.27 at 10:49 a.m. in New York Friday.”

“Fitbit originally planned to debut its watch this spring, according to a person familiar with the situation, but various setbacks forced the company to push the release to the fall,” Gurman and Wang report. “That means the device will probably go head-to-head with the latest Apple Watch, which has an established app store, tight integration with the iPhone, built-in music and payments services, not to mention thousands of accessories.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Fitbit’s first smartwatch will fail. They cannot compete with Apple Watch.

Along with Apple Watches on our left wrists, we wear simple Fitbit trackers (Fitbit Flex 2 bands) on our right wrists because we like to compete with our friends who wear Fitbits.

If we could find an Apple Watch band with a holder for our Fitbit Flex 2 units, we could stop wearing those Fitbit bands on our right wrists. (Hello, enterprising Apple Watch band-makers?!)

If an Apple Watch app existed that displayed our Fitbit steps, we’d be all set with Flex 2 units in our Apple Watch bands and the data displayed on Apple Watch’s display. (Fitbit’s app unsurprisingly does not offer an Apple Watch component.) Of course, even better would be for Fitbit to recognize Apple Watch steps and allow users to incorporate them into the Fitbit data, including allowing that step data to count in challenges (even though our Fitbit steps never match our Apple Watch steps). Yes, we know that will never a happen (unless Apple bought Fitbit for their user base, legacy data, and social network).

Lastly, we do understand that if Fitbit allowed the Apple Watch to display Fitbit tracker data, everyone would immediately buy the cheapest Fitbit since their Apple Watch display is unmatched by anything Fitbit offers or plans to offer before the company folds.

Beleaguered Fitbit’s first smartwatch plagued by design flaws, delayed – April 11, 2017
Apple Watch sales hit all-time high while Fitbit stumbles – March 2, 2017
The Apple Watch is winning – March 2, 2017
Apple Watch had massive holiday quarter; took nearly 80% share of total smartwatch revenue – February 10, 2017
The Apple Watch ‘WOW’ moment – February 3, 2017
Apple Watch dominates with 63% of worldwide smartwatch market – February 2, 2017
Apple smashes Street; iPhone, Services, Mac and Apple Watch set all-time records – January 31, 2017
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: Pebble is dead – December 7, 2016
Apple Watch Series 2 threatens Fitbit – October 13, 2016
Apple Watch has blood on its hands: ‘Microsoft Band’ wearable is dead – October 4, 2016
Computerworld reviews Apple Watch Series 2: It’s time to jump in – September 27, 2016
Ars Technica reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Great experience with very few hiccups’ – September 22, 2016
Mossberg reviews Apple’s watchOS 3: Quicker, easier, and more useful – September 21, 2016
CNET reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘The smooth wrist companion it was always meant to be’ – September 14, 2016
WSJ reviews Apple Watch Series 2: ‘Apple Watch finds its purpose in life’ – September 14, 2016
The Verge reviews Apple Watch Series 2: There’s something effortlessly cool about it – September 14, 2016
Apple Watch Series 2: Apple refocuses its smartwatch – September 12, 2016
Studies show Fitbit trackers are ‘highly inaccurate’ – May 23, 2016


  1. They needed to find a way to survive that didn’t include making a Smart Watch even Nike saw the writing on the wall. They needed to produce fitbit added functionality in an App perhaps or worked with the Android platform to become part of that if they were desperate but sadly or perhaps accept that fitness trackers will always have a niche role and try to dominate that in a specialist way but seriously they have far less chance than RIM of competing with Smart Watches, it will simply drive them into oblivion. Its really a matter of time till they do a flash sale to someone else who might be able to exploit the name and some of the technology now. Probably the sooner they do that the better for everyone involved with the company or the buyer will simply screw them totally into the ground with little benefit to anyone but the buyer, and judging by previous examples even that might be minimal especially if the brand name (the most valuable part) is nuked in the mean time.

  2. Fitbit CEO boldly proclaims “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent wrist worn health tracker. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in and take over.”

    CUT TO:

    (An Earth-shattering) KAAA-BOOOOOM!!

  3. I have been using fitbit charge2 ( not a smart watch) for a while.. I have been so much in love with it. The fitbit social network is the best. I do not need a smart watch for now. so, do not care for apple watch.. more over, fitbit can track sleep… i can charge once in 5 days… so, i love fitbit.. i hope they do not go under.. i hope they just focus on fitness and not smart watch.

  4. … wear a 2nd generation Fitbit. Cost half as much as a possibly more useful Apple Watch. It does have GPS built in, but needs a ‘device’ to let you know where you are. My son has the same model and syncs it to his iPhone … a great solution, until the temps drop and the phone shuts down for a bit. I’m sure all you technophiles will enjoy bragging about the unused features those smart watches deliver but you don’t ever notice. Go ahead. It’s YOUR lust. But try not to make a business case for it. You obviously have seriously important health concerns to monitor (“Along with Apple Watches on our left wrists, we wear simple Fitbit trackers (Fitbit Flex 2 bands) on our right wrists because we like to compete with our friends who wear Fitbits.”) that your “smart watches” can’t cope with. My next watch will measure my blood sugar, and/or my blood pressure. MY health concerns.

    1. You don’t get the Apple Watch. You don’t understand what it does or how to use it.

      I, too wear both an Apple Watch and a Fitbit Flex 2. Apple Watch counts steps. It’s a basic function. The reason we wear Fitbits, too, is because Fitbit won’t allow their data to be shared and we want to be able to track and compete with our family/friends who only have Fitbits.

      1. … quite a different model of Fitbit … MINE counts steps, counts flights (up) of stairs, tracks my pulse, and a number of things I can’t remember because those three are the ones that matter to me. What do you wear the Apple Watch for … showing off? You want to share your info? WRITE THE APP!
        Such comments remind me of the picture of the guy at the baseball game … has his hand up to block the sun, because his HAT was on with the brim to the REAR!

  5. Picked the wife up a series 2 gold yesterday. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool. I just can’t see it, so for me, cannot use without reading glasses. But she’s happy and that’s all that matters.

  6. I think Fitbit has one of the best fitness apps and networks. I think Fitbit should transition to an app subscription service that works with Apple Watch. Low overhead and many people are already in the pool.

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