Update (Mar 27, 9:00 pm ET): Fitbit Challenges, Adventures, and open groups are gone from the app.
What you need to know
- Fitbit has announced it is removing challenges, adventures, and open groups from its app.
- These three features will continue to be available until March 27.
- Fitbit confirmed users will still be able to create private groups for competitions.
It's been almost five years, and only three years since the acquisition was finalized, but we're finally starting to see exactly what we were afraid of after Google acquired Fitbit. In a move that should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Fitbit today announced that it is removing even more features from its app.
In an email sent to Fitbit users, the company explains that adventures, open groups, and challenges are being removed from the app. This includes any trophies that you have earned over the years, during those intense competitions with friends.
The community aspect of Fitbit has always been quite intriguing, as you could either round up a bunch of your friends to compete against one another, or you could join a public group. As of March 27, you'll only be able to create a "closed group," and "connect with other users in the Fitbit Community" via the Health & Wellness forums.
This is another big blow to the Fitbit faithful, as Google seems content with removing features and options that helped Fitbit become as popular as it was. In a statement provided to The Verge, Nicol Addison, head of communications at Fitbit and Nest stated "Fitbit found that these select features had a limited number of active users compared to other offerings, but are unable to confirm specific numbers at this time."
As part of the email sent out to its users, Fitbit also explained that you are able to download and export data from any of the features being removed. However, you'll only have until March 27, as even the history and data will no longer be available after that date.
Things don't look good for Fitbit
When the Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 were introduced, we wondered just how well these products would fit in amongst the best Android smartwatches. As it turns out, not very well at all, as Fitbit removed the ability to download and install third-party apps.
Of course, Fitbit's App Gallery is nowhere near as robust as the Play Store, to which the Pixel Watch has full access to with Wear OS 3. But you can't even download music directly to your Fitbit, let alone rely on your favorite music streaming service.
It definitely feels as though the writing is on the wall for Google to add another series of products to its "graveyard." But it's not like Fitbit was solely comprised of Android users. That remains one of the best things about getting a Fitbit, as it works with either iOS or Android, so to see more features removed while Premium is constantly thrown in your face is disappointing, to say the least.
I don't know what the future holds for Fitbit, and I wish I had a crystal ball to see what Google plans to do. Unfortunately, it's pretty obvious that not only is Fitbit on the back-burner, but we're barreling toward the end.
In February, Google stated it would remove some of Fitbit's popular community features from the app. That includes Fitbit Challenges, Adventures, and the ability to create open groups (although closed groups would still be available). As promised, these features have disappeared from the app as of March 27 (via 9to5Google).
Gone are the days where the Fitbit Versa or Sense were the best options if you wanted Fitbit integration. Now, that title is owned by the Pixel Watch, which offers everything other Fitbit's do, along with the power of Wear OS 3.
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Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.
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