Fitbit Blaze color touchscreen smartwatches are displayed at CES 2016 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas, Jan. 6, 2016. Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Fitbit announced its plans for a smartwatch in January. The company’s CEO James Park told the Financial Times on Wednesday the smartwatch would launch later this year.

Along with the Apple Watch 3, the Fitbit smartwatch is one of the most awaited smartwatches this year. Both companies have been on a string of acquisitions since last year, which might hint at their upcoming devices. While Fitbit acquired the prominent smartwatch companies Pebble and Vector, Apple acquired the health information collection company Gliimpse, the indoor mapping company and the sleep tracking hardware company Beddit.

Read: Fitbit's First Smartwatch, Codenamed Higgs, Appears In Leaked Photos

Fitbit Smartwatch

Park told the FT the upcoming Fitbit smartwatch will focus on endurance-based features rather than ones like an LTE radio. This means the smartwatch would be focused on fitness-related features and build on the company's existing technology, which has been used in smartwatches like the Charge 2 and the Blaze. Fitbit is also expected to include an onboard GPS tracker in the smartwatch, which would be an upgrade compared to the company’s other smartwatches, that depend on connecting to GPS data from the user’s smartphone. This would extend its battery life.

The software could either be an upgraded version of the one Fitbit used on the Blaze or it might include a Pebble-like software, which means it would be compatible with apps such as Twitter and Yelp, and iControl smart devices. The likelihood is that Fitbit might still use its own technology for fitness monitoring, but the upcoming smartwatch could gain from Pebble’s abilities such as letting users send texts from the smartwatch.

Apple Watch 3

Unlike the Fitbit smartwatch, which is expected to be compatible with both Android and iOS devices, the Apple Watch 3 may have some iOS specific features that work in congruence with the company’s iPhones. It is also expected to build on Apple’s smartphone technology and have features such as a display-embedded TouchID fingerprint-sensor. It could also have a flexible display, as hinted by a new Apple patent.

On the fitness side, it is expected to include Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking, which will give users nutritional information about foods. It is expected to include features such as sleep tracking, heart rate analysis, respiratory rate analysis and non-invasive blood glucose tracking.

It is also rumored to feature LTE connectivity, which will let users make Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls.


Both smartwatches are expected to have fitness- and connectivity-related features. However, their difference lies in their parent companies’ approaches towards the smartwatch concept. While the Fitbit smartwatch would be more like a fitness-based smartwatch with connectivity features, the Apple Watch 3 is expected to have a bigger focus on connectivity features that would make it compatible with the company’s iPhones.

Read: Apple Watch Series 3 Expected Features Include Food Nutrition Tracking, Sleep Monitoring

Both smartwatches are expected to launch later this year, with the Apple Watch 3 probably being the more premium of the two. The Apple Watch 3 would also be more feature-rich than the Fitbit smartwatch since it will have a more diverse focus, although the Fitbit smartwatch will have its advantages in not just fitness mapping but also in its fitness-related recommendations based on your fitness data.

So, if you want a smartwatch with a more connectivity-related focus, a premium feel and compatibility with your iPhone, the Apple Watch 3 might be the one to wait for. But if you are looking for a more affordable smartwatch with fitness-related features, the Fitbit device might be one to consider.