It was just last month that Fitbit acquired Pebble, the now defunct wearable startup founded by Canadian Eric Migicovsky, and many of its best software engineers, and already the company is putting those assets to good use.
In an interview with multiple U.S.-based publications at CES 2017, Fitbit CEO James Park said the company intends to launch its own app store “as soon as possible.” He later added, in an interview with The Verge, that the company plans to do so using assets acquired from Pebble, noting that the startup had “worked out a lot of the kinks” that go into building an app marketplace.
Park didn’t say it in so many words, but it’s likely the company will release a new smartwatch to coincide with the launch of its app store.
In the same interview with The Verge, Park said, “there so many different applications [our partners] want to write… from fitness-related ones to pill applications. And we don’t have the support in place for that right now, or any software infrastructure on our devices to run those devices.”
Indeed, Fitbit’s wearables have a limited software scope. For the most part, they do things like step and calorie tracking, but little else. To accommodate the more advanced functionality afforded by third-party apps, it follows then that Fitbit will have to fundamentally rework how devices like the Blaze and Charge 2 work, or, more likely, launch an entirely new device.
Just don’t expect a flood of consumer-focused apps. As evidenced by Park’s statements, Fitbit appears mostly concerned about developing apps to appease its corporate customers.