When Fitbit announced, after months of hints and rumors, that it was launching a smartwatch, it seemed likely that the answer to one big question would determine whether the health and fitness company could succeed: Could Fitbit build an app store to compete with the Apple Watch's?
Now, the app store in question, Fitbit's App Gallery, is finally starting to take shape. Fitbit announced today that it has more than 60 apps and more than 100 watch faces available, including a number aimed at different health and fitness use cases, both from third-party developers and from Fitbit.
“With this update, we are delivering on our promise to enhance the smart experience with popular apps, intelligent clock faces, and new motivating tools that help you reach your goals,” Jon Oakes, VP of product at Fitbit, said in a statement. “This is just the start – along with future enhancements to the Fitbit OS, we have an extremely engaged global developer community excited to continually bring even more unique offerings to our users via the Fitbit App Gallery.”
Fitbit also announced the launch of Fitbit Labs, a research initiative that will allow Ionic users access to new apps that the startup is still iterating and developing.
“It was difficult to get prototypes quickly into users’ hands so we can learn and iterate,” Robert da Silva, staff research data scientist at Fitbit, said in a statement. “Now we have an SDK that allows us to create, develop, and launch unique apps and experiences for a variety of audiences quickly. Fitbit Labs is enabled because of all the great work that’s happening at Fitbit on the SDK and other platforms that are being built for Ionic. ... Now we can take more of the adventurous ideas that we’ve been thinking about and get them into users’ hands.”
Read on for a list of 11 health and fitness-related apps that have already been announced or launched by Fitbit.
Fitbit Labs apps
- Fitbit Pet is basically a Tamagotchi on the wrist, but with a clever twist that makes it a fitness and wellness motivator. The user can feed a virtual dog or cat treats by walking a certain number of steps, and if the animal doesn't get enough treats it will run away. The virtual pet also gently encourages going to bed on time, by putting itself to sleep around 10 p.m.
- Think Fast is a mental sharpness game on the watch face. By playing the two-minute game regularly, users can measure their mental performance over time and see how it might be affected by things like exercise and sleep.
- Mood Log lets users track their mood in the same way that Think Fast lets them track mental sharpness. At a frequency set by the user, the app will prompt them to give a quick mood update by selecting a smiling, neutral, or frowning emoji.
- Treasure Trek, like Fitbit Pet, is a gameified way of promoting activity. Taking more steps will lead to moving a virtual pirate ship and uncovering virtual gold, which can be used in the game to upgrade the user's ship, crew, pets, and more.
- Tennis takes advantage of the Watch's location on the wrist to track insights specific to the sport, as well as letting the user manually record scores.
Third party apps
- Clue is the first women's health and fertility tracking app to come to the Fitbit. Users will be able to track menstruation and related metrics like mood, pain, and energy levels right on the watch. The app will be available by the end of the year.
- Walgreens' forthcoming app (due out in January) will allow users to locate a nearby Walgreens store and track Walgreens Balance Rewards. They can even use their Ionic to redeem rewards at the retailer by displaying a barcode the cashier can scan.
- Surfline is one of three apps Fitbit is announcing aimed at participants in a particular sport, along with Tennis and Game Golf. This app tells users when the surfing conditions are good in their area, taking into account weather, water temperature, wind speed, and surf height.
- Game Golf helps the user find a golf course and then works as a range-finder on more than 37,000 courses. At the end of the round, it also displays statistics, both game- and health-related, including steps and average heart rate.
Previously announced apps
- Dexcom and Fitbit announced in September that an app would bring data from Dexcom's continuous glucose monitor directly to the display of Fitbit's upcoming Ionic smartwatch. That's planned for 2018.
- OneDrop, a diabetes management app maker, said at the end of October that it will be developing a new app for the Fitbit Ionic using Fitbit’s SDK, which will allow users to view all of their One Drop data through the wearable. In addition, One Drop users on any mobile platform will receive a special offer a Fitbit activity trackers through One Drop’s storefront.