Is Google FitBit A Good Fit?

In a world of tablets, there’s iPad. Then there’s…not much else really. And in a world of smartwatches, there’s Apple Watch. Then there’s – crickets – ? OK. There are a few options, most notable is FitBit. But are fitness trackers worth it?

If The FitBit Fits

Late last year, Google bought FitBit! But what’s the deal with that now?

I’m curious because I need fitness.

Since the Covid–19 virus closed our local YMCA, I’ve not attended my karate class in months! And when you’re in your 40’s, the body easily withers…

…like a french fry left under the driver’s seat.

Recently, Apple announced lots of cool new stuff, including more Apple Watch improvements. The Activity app is now called Fitness! Because…fitness!

…shoves handful of Doritos into mouth…

Is a smartwatch necessary for health and well being? No. But it can help. I owned a 1st-gen moto360 Android Wear Smartwatch years ago. The fitness features, like counting my push-ups and steps, were cool.

But I tend to think of smartwatches as superfluous. They don’t really add much to my life – my smartphone already does most of what I want and need. And smartwatches are an extra device you must charge, update, and interact with.

Yet the more new buzzworthy features Apple crams into its smartwatch, the more I think I might want one. Last year, I listed 3 things that would make me splash out for an Apple Watch.

Also, this article about an Android user trying an Apple Watch and recommending it wholeheartedly is compelling.

But I moved out of Apple land to Google’s land full of Androids and Chromebooks. So what about Google Fit and Wear OS? I fear they’re about as important as Android tablets – almost non-existent.

Yet Google bought FitBit.

FitBit has remained a popular fitness device. It’s “a trusted brand that supports more than 28 million active users…” My co-worker recently raved about how good FitBit is. So that got me thinking…

Might a low-cost FitBit tracker be good enough for my exercise and help me shed some ice-cream pounds? Maybe. Or would I want to wear a more costly FitBit smartwatch so I get more out of it besides counting my steps and heartbeats? For the same price of the latter, I could just buy an Apple Watch Series 3.

Consider this: “Fitbit will continue to remain platform-agnostic across both Android and iOS.” This limits integration, so how good can FitBit be under Google?

Regardless of the synergy level, this merger of Google and FitBit is telling. In order to stand a chance at competing with Apple Watch for customers’ fitness, it will take at least the combined power of Google with the popularity of FitBit.

And it may be too little too late.

Plus, the Google-FitBit acquisition is pending an EU antitrust investigation unless Google promises to not use FitBit health data to sell or target ads at users. This whole thing is tenuous.

Maybe I should just get an iPhone and Apple Watch after all.

I’m reluctant to get either a smartwatch or a simple FitBit. In my limited experience with the original moto360, I recall too much flakiness – dropped connections between watch and phone. I suppose the best route would be to start on the low-cost end of FitBits. Invest a little and see how much I get in return.

Yet when I consider adopting a wrist computer toting lifestyle, the Apple Watch seems the best option. Why? Because I have total confidence that Apple makes their phone and watch pair together in optimal harmony. Apple is the king of hardware/software integration.

But this is also a reason why I’m glad to be outside the Apple camp. The Apple ecosystem whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each Apple device has a halo effect. Use one, and you’re likely to use another. Then you quickly must buy all the Apple things. It’s expensive! And you’re locked into an Apple garden of gadgets.

Apple’s is a tightly-coupled system. In contrast, Google’s is a loosely-coupled system, which is more open to third-parties, like FitBit. And although there’s some synergy between Google devices – my Android phone unlocks my Chromebook automatically – there’s not a big draw to buy a bunch of Google gear.

The Shoes Fit

A FitBit might be a simple choice. It’s just a small activity tracker. But it’s also unnecessary. About the only gear you need to move your body is a decent pair of shoes. Most of us have a closet with several pairs. Time to get movin’.

That said, when I see the 3rd-gen moto360, it looks like some impressive fit-tech.

Hmmm…buy a smartwatch, or watch what I eat?