Fitbit Ionic Update Adds More Apps and Watch Faces

James Marshall
December 5, 2017

Leading the charge are 14 new apps from major companies that have been designed specifically for Fitbit's platform: Surfline, Clue, Game Golf, Hue Lights, Walgreens, Nest, Yelp, Flipboard, The New York Times, TripAdvisor, Uber, United Airlines, British Airways, and Lyft.

The biggest news here is the addition of more third-party applications. But the watch still lacks more basic functions like a mapping or messaging app.

Global customers will gain access to on-device offline music streaming via Deezer, but they'll have to wait until next year.

Enhancements such as faster touch interactions and updates to Fitbit Pay, including the introduction of multi-card payments directly on-device and expanded banks. Throughout my time with the Fitbit Ionic, I've found Fitbit OS to be too laggy, nearly to the point where I don't want to wear the watch at all.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune's technology newsletter. Fitbit's shares have gained 18% since the day before it debuted the new watch in August, though they are still off about 67% since the company's initial public offering two years ago.

This new Fitbit Ionic software update is rolling out now.

If the Fitbit Ionic is really going to become a true fitness smartwatch, it'll need to do more things better. Additionally, there's a new Fitbit Leaderboard app, which lets users compare their fitness stats against friends and family directly from the Ionic. "Its biggest flaw is that it is not, in any meaningful way, an interactive smartwatch", the review noted.

More apps and clock faces are on the way, too. More than 5,000 developers have joined Fitbit's developer program and 1,000 have started to write apps or build clock faces for the Ionic, Fitbit said. According to Fitbit, this initiative will provide a testing ground for potential new features in the form of experimental apps and smart clock faces created to motivate users and drive behavior change, giving the company a highly scalable way to test new features and analyze anonymous user data and feedback to help accelerate the development of future technologies. Right now there are a handful of clock faces and apps available through Fitbit Labs, including a Fitbit Pet clock that helps you stay active by using your steps to feed and care for a virtual dog.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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