Fitbit smartwatches will soon get a bunch of exciting new features with a major software update

Fitbit smartwatches will soon get a bunch of exciting new features with a major software update
This was one of only two always-on Versa 2 watch faces available at launch

While it's obviously way too early to see any fruits of Google's labor applied to Fitbit's popular fitness-centric smartwatches, Alphabet's future subsidiary is announcing some big changes coming to the Versa, Versa Lite, Versa 2, and even the ancient Ionic today.

Starting with the hot new Fitbit Versa 2, it's certainly nice that the company appears to be listening to user feedback, improving a key feature that looked rather rudimentary at launch. As highlighted in our product review, the always-on display was initially only capable of switching between two clock faces, both of which were black and white and fairly slow to exit.

But the looming FitbitOS 4.1 software update will come with no less than five additional options for your always-on clock face, all offered in color with "full health and fitness stats" included. Oh, and Fitbit promises the transition between always-on and active views will be much faster, basically ironing out one of only three flaws noticed in our review a little while back.

Of course, always-on colors could theoretically have an impact on the excellent battery life of the Fitbit Versa 2, but in reality, the company says you have nothing to worry about, pointing out that this device still lasts "more than double what that other smartwatch does" (oh, snap.) The Apple Watch Series 5 also lacks sleep monitoring tools, and that brings us to the second thing FitbitOS 4.1 will purportedly enhance starting the "first week of December."


All of Fitbit's smartwatches are set to receive a very interesting feature dubbed smart wake, described as a "silent on-device alarm" that can help you start your day feeling "more refreshed" by sending subtle vibrations at an "optimal time in your sleep cycle." Speaking of on-device stuff, you'll soon be able to check out your nightly Sleep Score without going to your phone, and perhaps most excitingly, a new clock face switcher will finally allow you to, well, switch clock faces easier.

Instead of visiting the Fitbit App Gallery every single time you want to refresh the look of your smartwatch, this feature will let you store up to five options you can quickly swap to "match your outfit, activity, or mood." Naturally, more would have been even better, but five is still better than one.

Circling back to the Versa 2, early adopters of Fitbit's latest smartwatch should be happy to hear the company's "best heart rate tracking experience yet" will come exclusively to this model as part of the OS 4.1 update. Fitbit promises "higher accuracy overall" for a technology that was already pretty impressive from that standpoint. This improvement is made possible by implementing machine learning to identify the "unique signature of heart rate in the optical sensor." We're not even sure what that means, to be perfectly honest, but it sounds like a cutting-edge that could help Fitbit improve if not save some lives.

On the battery life topic, all of the company's smartwatches will receive an energy-saving functionality of sorts automatically kicking in to both notify you of low power and disable "select features" to keep that ticker running longer between charges.

Finally, the Fitbit Premium membership service inaugurated just a couple of months ago is getting several new tools and expanded features, including a personal wellness report offering in-depth analysis of your activity, sleep, heart rate, and weight trend data for a period of up to a year. 

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