Fitbit Makes Google Assistant Audible on Smartwatches 6 Months After Alexa
Fitbit’s newest OS upgrade gives Google Assistant a speaking voice on the Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense smartwatches for the first time. The update comes a little over half a year after the voice assistant became available on those smartwatches, which is also when Fitbit provided Alexa with audible responses on those same devices.
Fitbit first made Google Assistant accessible on the Versa 3 and Sense smartwatches in the same November update that gave Alexa audible responses. Fitbit had stated in August that Google Assistant would arrive around then, but the text-only element was surprising since both watches launched with small speakers clearly designed for the voice assistant to speak through. The OS upgrade isn’t just about Google’s voice of course. The update also makes blood-oxygen-level information more accessible, simplifies switching the watch face, and lets the user set alerts for if their heart rate goes above or below a certain level. Blood oxygen tracking is a major selling point for both smartwatches, which made automated tracking it last year.
“The latest FitbitOS release is jam packed with new features and updates that make it easier than ever to stay healthy, connected, and motivated—right from your wrist,” Fitbit wrote in an announcement of the upgrade. “Here at Fitbit, we’re always striving to bring you quality experiences that will help you reach your health and wellness goals.”
Google’s acquisition of Fitbit for $1.2 billion in late 2019 set up expectations for a vocal response setup. The long wait is fitting considering how the absorption of Fitbit into Google has been slow on the business front as well. Google only declared the acquisition of Fitbit complete in January, and even that was possibly a little premature, but the deal does seem to be essentially done at this point. The speed is also notable just because of how Alexa was already on Fitbit devices and first to be able to speak to smartwatch wearers. Alexa appeared on the Versa 2 smartwatch back in the summer of 2019. Fitbit’s decision to keep both voice assistants is likely to keep and attract more customers than limiting its devices to just Google Assistant. Amazon is likely fine with keeping Alexa on Fitbit despite its rival’s acquisition.