I have been a longtime Fitbit consumer. I believe they’re a few of the greatest health trackers you should buy. However the latest modifications are inflicting me and lots of different customers to query the way forward for the health tracker model and what units it aside. Particularly, this includes the removing of challenges and open teams, that are companies aimed toward neighborhood engagement, on March 27, 2023.
For me, challenges have been one in every of Fitbit’s largest strengths. You possibly can strap a health tracker or smartwatch to your wrist, create an account, and possibly not less than a handful of your contacts have been Fitbit customers as nicely. Then, you’ll be able to add them as associates to compete and evaluate your progress. It looks like an insignificant “good to have” function, however the motivation it offers is exactly the aim of carrying a health tracker within the first place. And with out open teams, you would not have the chance to get to know like-minded customers from all around the world.
What did these Fitbit options do?
First, let us take a look at what these options did. Challenges allow you to arrange contests with 2-10 associates or household, together with each day, weekly, or weekend step contests. They don’t seem to be too difficult both, encouraging you to hit your stride and hit new private bests.
A particular type of problem is Adventures, immersive challenges with digital excursions of fascinating locations world wide. These additionally enable you to attain your step objectives, however are extra interactive, permitting you to “discover” landmarks and info.
Open Teams, in the meantime, enable Fitbit customers world wide to attach with different like-minded individuals. These could possibly be different mother and father, individuals coaching for a 10K, or others who share related pursuits, like wholesome consuming or weight reduction. You will nonetheless have the ability to create closed teams with family and friends, however you’ll be able to’t use the platform to attach with new individuals or keep in contact with others you could have already constructed a camaraderie with.
Fitbit, which was bought by Google in January 2021, says the choice was made to “improve the Fitbit app with Google know-how” and “develop new options, ship quicker load instances, and improve your expertise.” Even when that is true, it is eradicating one of the crucial important options of the platform.
As a result of that is dangerous information for Fitbit and Fitbit customers
This choice eliminates probably the greatest options of the platform: the sense of neighborhood. Greater than 31 million individuals reportedly use Fitbit not less than as soon as per week. That is a staggering quantity and a ripe group of purchasers to construct and keep an lively neighborhood.
At a time when the market is flooded with competing manufacturers of health trackers and smartwatches, it has develop into more and more troublesome to face out. In response to Statista, Fitbit has led the wearables house since 2014, accounting for almost half of the worldwide market share at 45%. The corporate’s stable maintain in the marketplace (though it now faces stiff competitors from Apple, Garmin, and others) is partly because of the distinctive challenges and groupsets. Whereas different corporations, like Apple, have a model of Challenges, they don’t seem to be as strong as these supported by Fitbit.
These days, each smartwatch and health tracker can accomplish all the similar issues and log many of the similar knowledge. What distinguishes metrics is when the information is actionable.
You need to use Fitbit with each Android and Apple, and you do not even have to personal a Fitbit to make use of a few of the app’s options (monitoring with the sensors in your cellphone). There is not any walled backyard round it such as you’ll discover with the Apple Watch, or limitations on what options you should utilize like with Samsung Galaxy watches.
Fitbit is not a cellphone firm that in the future began making watches, nor a well being tech firm that began creating wrist trackers so as to add to its rising roster of merchandise. Health monitoring has been Fitbit’s bread and butter because the starting and stays so regardless of increasing into different merchandise. Counting steps and monitoring well being metrics in a vacuum is now not sufficient. Motivating, encouraging and collaborating with a neighborhood of customers by means of exercises, sharing stats, competitions and comparisons is, or fairly was, one in every of Fitbit’s biggest strengths.
It helped me with my motivation
I do know it really works as a result of I’ve typically engaged in Fitbit Challenges. Seeing what number of steps others have taken prompts me to take that 4k stroll or find time for the each day exercise I have been dragging my toes over. Participant feedback throughout every Problem are additionally encouraging. We tease one another, share particulars about how we’re getting in, and do all the pieces we are able to to outdo one another.
These days, each smartwatch and health tracker can accomplish all the similar issues and log many of the similar knowledge. What distinguishes metrics is when the information is actionable. In lots of circumstances, similar to with Fitbit, this includes maintaining with what others are doing and difficult colleagues as an encouragement to work in the direction of private objectives.
I’ve just lately began carrying an Apple Watch on my reverse wrist and sharing knowledge with others is basically motivating. I can see how I evaluate to family and friends who’re additionally Apple Watch customers, whether or not it is in each day steps, energy burned, and even what objectives they’ve set for themselves. We interact in pleasant competitions and encourage one another with congratulatory messages and emojis. The one draw back is that Apple Watch competitions solely work one-on-one. However not less than they’re potential, as is sharing your stats with associates. Equally, Samsung affords strolling competitions by means of its Collectively in Samsung Well being function, world challenges, and staff challenges.
We’ll see a extra Google-centric strategy sooner or later, together with, probably, integrating WearOS into extra Google Pixel watches and probably different upcoming Fitbit-branded units, slowly making them much less Fitbit and extra Google. The primary-generation Google Pixel Watch, which boasts Fitbit integration, is simply the tip of the iceberg. And we are able to anticipate a neighborhood facet as nicely. Google helps a big database of customers, in spite of everything, so it might probably create a neighborhood in contrast to another.
However will or not it’s too late? I’ve already considered leaping ship to the Apple Watch. This was partly as a result of I am an Apple gadget consumer, so the synergies make sense, but it surely was additionally influenced by how my Fitbit neighborhood has shrunk in recent times. Folks in my internal circle have moved to different platforms, particularly Apple, nonetheless leaving fewer and fewer individuals to compete with.
Maybe my internal circle isn’t any exception, and Fitbit has noticed an identical pattern on the whole. Extra options are additionally popping out, like assist for signing in to Google, and Fitbit has already stopped syncing your laptop. Folks might have already got gone out. Nonetheless, for anybody new to the market in search of a health tracker or smartwatch that may do all of it and join them to a wealth of data and a neighborhood of individuals, this information makes Fitbit a much less enticing platform to think about. All we are able to do is hope for greater and higher issues with Google integration sooner or later.
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