While the regulatory hurdles persist for Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, it looks like some of the effects are already being realized with Fitbit’s latest announcement of 2 new watches for 2020 that will feature the Google Assistant baked right in: The Fitbit Versa 3 and the new Fitbit Sense. Both watches are currently up for pre-order already and, according to Fitbit’s website, both watches will begin shipping on September 25th.
While there will be reasons to look at the latest Fitbit Versa 3 or choose the upgraded flagship in the Fitbit Sense, we’re really here to talk about the fact that both of these new wearables will feature the option to utilize the Google Assistant out of the box. As a Google user and an Assistant user, I leave the Alexa functionality on my Fitbit 2 turned off completely. There are times where I could see some serious upside to having quick access to voice-enabled functions on my wrist, but not enough to wade into the Amazon waters of virtual assistants when I don’t really do much at all in Amazon’s current ecosystem.
With this new option of Google Assistant at the ready on my wrist, I’m far more compelled to actually seek out virtual help from a smartwatch for more than just replies to text and instant messages. Being able to queue up direction in Google Maps, check the weather, set reminders, create calendar events, set timers, set alarms, etc. will all become normal fare for me if I have a watch that uses the Assistant. And before you say it, yes I know there are a myriad of WearOS watches out there that have access to the Assistant, but I’ve known too many friends who have tried and hated their WearOS watches to ever really consider buying one for myself.
With both the Fitbit Versa and Versa 2 that I have owned, I’ve appreciated the simplicity, health tracking, battery life and very low weight of the watches more than anything. As the versions have progressed, Fitbit just keeps getting better at design and their watches keep adding useful features that users actually need and want. With the Versa 3 we get the addition of GPS in the watch and with the Fitbit Sense, we’re getting a ton of new, handy features like an ECG monitor, skin temp sensor, and a speaker for taking/making calls right on your wrist. The Versa 3 will come in at $229.95 and the Sense will run $329.95. Both are up for pre-order right now.
While the regulatory steps still need to be cleared for Fitbit to become an official Google company, it will be great to have a direct path to the Google Assistant inside an already-great smartwatch experience while we await news of the deal actually going through. For users like myself, the Fitbit Versa 2 has been a fantastic companion device that does all the basic things I really need in a smartwatch. From the looks of these newer models, the Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense will simply take that winning formula, add on a few niceties, and bring Google a tad bit more into the conversation.