February 5, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Fitbit Versa and Sense smartwatches lose features again

Fitbit Versa and Sense smartwatch owners are falling behind again. Google says that smartwatches will lose support for local audio storage.

For a local audio experience, Fitbit Versa and Sense users have so far been able to rely on the services of Pandora and Deezer. Fitbit support articles now state that these music services will disappear from Fitbit devices on March 31, 2023. This notes 9to5Google on me. After that, applications can no longer be downloaded and all functionality is lost on the watches on which they were once installed. Music that has already been stored locally can no longer be played after that date.

The problem only plays a significant role in the first generation Fitbit Sense and older Verse watches. The Sense 2 and Versa 4 that the manufacturer released last year completely lacked support for local audio storage: Deezer and Pandora were never available on those smartwatches. There was also concern about the continued existence of other apps in the App Store. It’s not known if the end of local audio storage was driven by the limited number of users, or changes Google made “in the future” to the smartwatch’s operating system.

On Deezer and Pandora, change doesn’t seem to be fully hacked yet. Neither company has updated its Fitbit support page with information about turning off local audio storage. Sense and Versa users can order another three-month free trial to play local audio on their smartwatch. The official Deezer activation page for Fitbit also doesn’t have any notice of end of support.

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Fitbit to wear OS

In the meantime, the question is also what exactly Fitbit’s future will look like. The Google subsidiary may eventually turn to Google’s Wear OS as its operating system, and we’re now seeing one of the first holes in Fitbit’s OS presence.

It would make sense — Google has implemented many of Fitbit’s unique features in its Wear OS shell on the Pixel Watch. You can even read that smartwatch via the Fitbit app. You can now do this with your Fitbit account; Later this year, this option will disappear and new users will have to rely on Google accounts.

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