Fitbit has been expanding the range of its tracking sensors since well before its acquisition by Google. Just last month, the company added support for monitoring blood oxygen saturation and skin temperature to the Charge 4, but now it's looking to expand beyond surface-level information. In an effort to combat high blood pressure, Fitbit is launching a study to determine if its devices can track changes in your heart, right from your wrist.
Google is quite vocal about acquiring Fitbit. About a month ago, the company officially boasted the products were part of its family by featuring them on its online store. Sadly, they couldn't be purchased from Google yet, and the banner was just a mere redirection to Fitbit's site. The company pushed the integration one step further and is now selling Fitbit products on its store.
About two weeks ago, Google officially claimed its acquisition of Fitbit was complete. Although regulators around the world say investigations are still ongoing, the company just put up a banner on its store, welcoming the fitness tracking company to its family.
Back in November, Google Assistant gained integration with third-party fitness trackers to natively inform you about your activity. Even though the feature was limited to sleep data and exclusive to Fitbit devices, Google is expanding it to smart displays, which can now proactively show this information.
Google's acquisition of Fitbit is now complete, according to an announcement made by the company earlier this morning. Claiming that the deal was always about Fitbit's hardware expertise and not customer data, Google says it has smoothed over regulatory concerns with a series of safeguards and commitments. However, we aren't sure if either US or Australian regulators' concerns have actually been addressed given the ongoing state of both investigations.
The Fitbit Versa 3 launched earlier this year alongside Fitbit's flagship tracker, the Sense. That device is packed with features, including heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, what have you — but it can also do ECG scans, and even purportedly measure your stress levels. In his review, our own Ryan found that the usefulness of some of the Sense's features was questionable. He also said it's too expensive at $329.
The Versa 3 is extremely similar to the Sense, with a few key differences: it drops ECG and electrodermal activity (EDA) monitoring, trades stainless steel casing for aluminum, and slashes $100 off the price tag.
Google received good news from the European Commission earlier this week, as its acquisition of health tracking wearable company Fitbit was approved conditionally. But just because the $2 billion dollar deal has gained the thumbs-up from one regulatory body doesn't mean it's completely in the clear — Australia has threatened Google with a $400 million fine if the merger moves forward without approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Fitness tracking is one of the main reasons people love smartwatches, and Fitbit's offerings excel at it. Right now, Amazon has two of the company's watches on sale, including its newest watch, the Fitbit Sense. It has special health monitoring sensors, long battery life, Google Assistant integration, and it's just $259.95 at the moment — $70 off.
In the era before modern smartwatches, Fitbit's name became synonymous with wearable fitness trackers. Full-fledged smartwatches have become the norm as consumers have demanded more and more from wearables, and Fitbit stepped in with the Ionic and Versa smartwatches a few years ago. I had high hopes that Fitbit would continue to improve and provide Android users a viable alternative to the increasingly frustrating Wear OS experience, but the Sense has some of the same shortcomings and bugs I remember from the Ionic. The Sense also has its own raft of new glitches that I find equally annoying.