Following three years of trial and occasional error with the Surge and Ionic, Fitbit finally found its perfect smartwatch recipe this year with the Versa. Offering a clean design, mostly intuitive software, and an affordable price, the Versa gets much more right than in the areas it stumbles.
However, those stumbles do occur, and while none of them are deal-breakers, they do give Fitbit a clear path of what to focus on for its next smartwatch release.
Whenever that time comes and whatever it ends up being called, this is what I'd like to see in Fitbit's next smartwatch.
Add a microphone for voice control
Fitbit OS does a decent job of handling notifications from your phone, but in its current form, offers no way to reply to text messages, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, etc. Fitbit will be adding customizable pre-made replies this May, but I'd like to see things be taken a step further with voice controls.
Pebble introduced voice control functionality with the Pebble Time in 2015, and this was done by doing nothing more than adding a microphone and creating a bit of software to support it. By default, you could use the microphone for replying to notifications, but Pebble later opened up an API that allowed developers to integrate the microphone into third-party apps.
Pebble already had a great voice reply feature.
Seeing as how Fitbit purchased Pebble in 2016 and likes to tout that its SDK is even easier to work with than Pebble's, adding voice features to its next smartwatch should be easy. This would allow for even greater control when replying to notifications, and if Fitbit wants to go the extra mile, it could even integrate Alexa or Google Assistant for much deeper interactions.
Heck, throw on a small speaker so we can accept voice calls right on the watch. Why not?
More on-watch health data/tracking
While on the topic of software, something else I'd like to see added to Fitbit's next smartwatch (and its existing ones, for that matter) is more health-related data and tracking.
The Fitbit Today app saw a big upgrade with Fitbit OS 2.0, but Fitbit has room to make it even better. I'd love to be able to track my water intake without having to use a third-party app, see my logged sleep for the past few nights, and possibly a more detailed breakdown of my most recent workouts compared to what's offered right now.
I understand Fitbit not wanting to clutter up your watch face and giving you a reason to still jump into the Fitbit app on your phone, but these small additions would go a long way in helping Fitbit OS stand out as the smartwatch platform of choice for people that are serious about living a healthier life.
Bring back the Ionic's watch bands
This next item might not sound like a huge deal, but it's something I desperately want to see changed in Versa 2 or whatever else succeeds it.
Fitbit created one of the most simple watch band mechanisms I've ever seen on a watch with the Ionic. Press a button, pull the band, and it came off. To put it back on, hold the button, push it in the slot, and that's it.
For whatever reason, Fitbit ditched this design with the Versa and came up with a new quick-release system that requires you to fiddle around with a teeny-tiny metal bar that's infuriating to work with. It's not user-friendly in the slightest, and it makes changing watch bands something you dread (which is a shame considering how many excellent ones there already are for it).
With your next watch, Fitbit, please bring back the Ionic's band system. Please.
Keep the Versa's design
As much as I hate the Versa's watch band setup, I simply adore its physical design.
The aluminum-made squircle body looks great both at the gym and at a nice dinner, and the lightweight design means you often forget it's even on your wrist unless you actually think about it.
The Versa may not look like anything special browsing through pictures online, but after wearing one for myself and getting some quality time with it, it's quickly become one of my favorite smartwatch designs in recent memory.
Have NFC available on all models
My last point is a minor one, but it's still something I'd like to see addressed going forward. NFC used to be a very rare feature that only flagship gadgets got, but now even certain versions of Motorola's Moto E phones are shipping with it.
NFC should be a given in 2018.
All Fitbit Ionics come equipped with NFC, but on Versa, you need to pay an extra $30 for the Special Edition to get this functionality. $229 is still a very fair price considering everything the watch has to offer, but I'd much rather see this adopted across all models for future releases.
I've had a positive experience with Fitbit Pay each and every time I've used it, and I'd love for more people to share in it. Having an MST chip for similar functionality like what's seen on Samsung Pay would be even better, but I'm not holding my breath for that one.
What do you want to see?
Those are the things I'd like to see in Fitbit's next smartwatch, but what about you? What killer feature would you love to see the company work on? Sound off in the comments below!
P.S. – All of these wishes are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. The Fitbit Versa is already an excellent smartwatch, and if you haven't checked it out yet, you owe it to yourself to do just that.
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