Fitbit followed on from their purchase of Pebble by announcing the acquisition of Vector this week, a smartwatch start-up best-known for its Vector watch, which has a 30-day battery life. Vector made headline news in 2015 when they raised $5 million in funding for a smartwatch that would run their own Vector OS. The Vector watch, however, never sold in any great volume so it’s unsurprising to see a wearables giant such as Fitbit move in to snap the brand up.
Fitbit launched the Fitbit blaze last January, with the device getting generally favourable reviews among media outlets, but the Blaze wasn't considered as good as an Apple Watch or a HUAWEI Watch. The concern for the Blaze was that it ran Fitbit’s own operating system, without any clear advantage over Android Wear. Sure, the Blaze did fitness well, but it didn’t do anything else as well as an Apple Watch or Android Wear.
New Smartwatch and App Store on the horizon for Fitbit?
Fitbit’s acquisition of Vector comes as the next-generation of smartwatches are close to being launched. We have already seen Garmin launch a new smartwatch and Misfit tease a new smartwatch at CES. We suspect that Fitbit’s acquisition of Vector is for the same reasons that Fitbit acquired Pebble. Fitbit bought Pebble out for their ideas and expertise - not for their products. Their acquisition of Vector will enable them to bring new products to market that improve on the Blaze, and thus, continue to improve Fitbit’s market position.
Fitbit are looking beyond hardware, though. CEO James Park revealed at CES that the brand wants to launch its own app store “as soon as possible”. That makes sense, since Fitbit’s current generation of devices are limited in what they can do right now outside of activity tracking features.
For instance, the Blaze will track your steps and monitor your heartrate, but you can’t browse the web on one nor can you look at Google maps. Because of this, for most people the Blaze is not considered as such a good investment long term. CEO James Park went as far to say that Fitbit do no not have “any software infrastructure on our devices to run those apps,” at CES, which leads us to believe an app store is in the works, as it seems that Fitbit are positioning themselves to take on the might of Android Wear.
However, whatever Fitbit are up to, one thing is for sure; Vector’s ideas should live on in Fitbit’s next-gen devices. So, don’t shed a tear just yet, because the best might be to come.