Fitbit Pay’s days are numbered

It’s been more than two years since Google dropped $2.1 billion for Fitbit, but so far there hasn’t been much integration between the two companies’ products. Looks like that will change this fall. Not only is the upcoming Pixel Watch set to receive a dazzling Fitbit integration, but it also appears that the rumored Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 could have some kind of Google Wallet integration as well.

According to 9to5google, the latest version of Android’s Play Services shows signs that Google Wallet — which includes Google Pay — is adding Fitbit smartwatch support. This includes a new menu with “Squircle” Fitbit smartwatch-like graphics. The images are also labeled as “Fitbit watch illustration”. (You can see the images here.) However, it’s unclear whether Google Wallet is replacing Fitbit Pay entirely or if it’s an alternative to the way Samsung smartwatches now allow you to download Google Wallet. 9to5google It claims it could also be a way to add Google Wallet to Fitbit Pay as a means to enable the service for older watches.

Right now, the only real connection between Fitbit and Google is Google Assistant on the wrist. Starting with the Versa 2, the only digital assistant you could use on Fitbit devices was Alexa. Then, following the Google acquisition, Fitbit later added Google Assistant as an option on the Versa 3 and Sense. This made Fitbit devices one of the first wearables that let you choose between two digital assistants. (You can now do the same on a Samsung Galaxy smartwatch running Wear OS 3.)

Adding the Google Assistant to Fitbits was an obvious choice. Alexa was already on Fitbit’s devices. There’s no way Google would allow that to be its biggest competitor in the digital assistant field Only Its an option on a gadget. However, the option to add Google Wallet is probably the death knell for Fitbit Pay. Service has always been a little finicky. Accepted by a large number of banks and transit systems (at least in the United States), it is a small player in the world of contactless payments. And, its UI is not as smooth as Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

Anyway, the number of leaks regarding the Sense 2 and Versa 4 suggests that we are likely to hear something new from Fitbit soon. We should be able to find out more about what Fitbit’s future trajectory will look like now that Google is ramping up its wearable efforts. But for now, it appears that the two companies are headed for further integration, ala Google and Nest. The real question is whether Fitbit can maintain its identity over the long term — or if by this time next year, we’ll see the Google Fitbit Versa 5.

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