Fitbit OS 5.1 update brings Google Assistant and more to Sense, Versa 3

Canadians will have to wait a bit longer for Assistant, but other features like improved SpO2 monitoring will be available now

Fitbit has announced a new update is rolling out to its newest Sense and Versa 3 smartwatches with some exciting new features, including the long-awaited Google Assistant support.

When Fitbit launched the Sense and Versa 3 earlier this year, it said both devices would work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. However, Assistant support was promised to come later. With the rollout of Fitbit OS 5.1, Assistant will go live for U.S. users. Unfortunately for Canadians, Assistant support will arrive in the coming months.

Once Assistant does go live, users can switch from Alexa to Assistant by going to the ‘Account’ section of the Fitbit smartphone app, selecting their smartwatch and then tapping the ‘Voice Assistant’ option. From there, users can connect their Google account and enable Assistant.

Aside from Assistant, OS 5.1 includes several other new features, many of which will go live for Canadians when the update arrives on November 19th.

First up, Fitbit enabled SpO2 tracking on the backend, which means users won’t need to use the special SpO2 watch face to activate bloody oxygen level monitoring. Along with that, Fitbit says it will add seven new SpO2 clock faces to the Fitbit ‘App Gallery’ by the end of the year.

For those who prefer to use Alexa, the digital assistant is getting more useful on the Sense and Versa 3. With OS 5.1, Alexa will gain the ability to respond with audible replies through the built-in speaker on both smartwatches.

Finally, OS 5.1 brings the ability to answer phone calls and text messages from your watch using your voice. For phone calls, this means users can pick up an incoming call with their Fitbit Sense or Versa 3 and use the built-in microphone and speaker to speak with the caller. For messages, users can respond to messages with a voice-to-text feature. Oddly, this feature was available on my Sense review unit back in September.

To update your Fitbit, head to the ‘Today’ tab in the Fitbit app on your phone > tap your account picture in the top-left corner > tap your Fitbit device > select Update (only available when there’s an update for your Fitbit). Then follow the on-screen steps to complete the update.