All signs seem to point at a real Fitbit smartwatch hitting the scene soon and the company's latest acquisition now bolsters such expectations.
More specifically, Fitbit has now bought European startup Vector Watch, swallowing its software platform and team. With Vector Watch now under its belt, Fitbit could have all it needs to bring a smartwatch to market.
Real Fitbit Smartwatch Coming Soon?
Just late last year, Fitbit acquired Pebble and the move fueled speculation that Fitbit was finally gearing up to release a real smartwatch. At the time, Fitbit did not want to buy Pebble's hardware business or hire its team members, and it only acquired Pebble's software.
With the latest acquisition, however, things are different. Fitbit acquired Vector Watch's software platform and hired its employees as well. Vector's team could be working on Fitbit's rumored smartwatch, which might hit the scene sooner rather than later.
In another sign that a real Fitbit smartwatch is likely in the cards, Fitbit CEO James Park recently confirmed that Fitbit plans to launch its very own app store in the near future. Park told The Verge that Pebble already "worked out a lot of the kinks" that go toward launching an app store, so Fitbit has a solid base to build upon.
While the CEO did not offer a specific release date, he said that Fitbit plans to launch its app store "as soon as possible." This, in turn, indicates that it shouldn't be too long until a real Fitbit smartwatch makes its debut as well.
On the other hand, there are also hints that a Fitbit smartwatch may not happen after all. Fitbit's lack of interest in Pebble's hardware or engineers could be one clue, for instance.
Fitbit rules the wearable device market and its fitness-focused devices are popular worldwide, so the company might ultimately choose to stay true to its fitness goals and pass on the smartwatch concept that would require a more versatile gadget. In this scenario, its upcoming app store could simply aim to attract more developers and boost the number of available apps for its wearables.
Fitbit Vector Watch Acquisition
While various clues could yield different interpretations, there's still a good chance that Fitbit will eventually launch its own smartwatch and the likelihood of that happening just increased with the Vector Watch acquisition.
"Today, we are happy to announce that the Vector Watch team and our software platform are joining Fitbit, the leader in the connected health and fitness market," Vector announced. "We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit's experience and global community."
The company adds that its smartwatches retain all features and functionalities as the acquisition has no impact on its existing lineup, but it will not launch any new products under the Vector Watch brand in the future. Hardware-specific issues, warranty-related queries and other such matters, meanwhile, will continue to be addressed by the Vector Watch support team.