Fitbit's smartwatch gets a whole bunch of new apps

New experimental fitness games, watch faces and apps. Will these transform Fitbit into a true smartwatch?

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Fitbit Ionic Watch

How many apps will be good ones?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Fitbit wants to go after the Apple Watch. Will more apps help?

The Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit's newest watch that debuted in October, didn't launch with a lot of apps right away. Now it's got a number of others, available today via a software update.

Earlier this year, Fitbit promised that app development would eventually transform what the Fitbit Ionic could do, much like the Pebble smartwatch (which Fitbit acquired). Fitbit's first wave of apps felt like disappointments compared to efforts on Apple Watch, Android Wear or Samsung's Gear platform.

The new apps launching now are ETrade, Flipboard, a Hue Lights control app, Surfline (surf reports), the New York Times and Yelp. Fitbit promises TripAdvisor, United Airlines, Nest, Clue and Game Golf by the end of the year.

Of more interest to possible Fitbit buyers is a bunch of new watch faces that will expand the dozen-plus already available.

The most exciting part might be Fitbit Labs, where the company plans to explore new ideas like gamified fitness. Fitbit Pet (a fitness game mixed with a virtual pet app, which sounds similar to Pebble's popular FitCat app), another game-fitness hybrid called Treasure Trek, Mood Log (a mood-logging watch face that looks for patterns), a mental-acuity game encouraging sleep habits called Think Fast and a tennis-tracking app are coming in the next month.

And, while Fitbit has Pandora for on-watch music in the US, Fitbit is partnering with Deezer for music internationally.

If the Fitbit Ionic is really going to become a true fitness smartwatch, it'll need to do more things better. We'll update the Ionic review once we have a chance to test out these new apps and features.