Leaks Hint Fitbit Might Launch an ECG Smartwatch Soon... and Yet Another Versa

Illustration for article titled Leaks Hint Fitbit Might Launch an ECG Smartwatch Soon... and Yet Another Versa
Image: Roland Quandt/WinFuture

Since the Apple Watch Series 4, wearable makers have been scrambling to add electrocardiogram functions to their smartwatches. Now, leaked renders from WinFuture suggest that Fitbit is ready to introduce its own ECG-capable smartwatch, along with an updated Inspire 2 tracker and... unsurprisingly, a Versa 3.

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The actual details from WinFuture, a German tech site with a decent track record when it comes to leaks, are pretty scant. For starters, these appear to be marketing renders, not photos of the actual products. That said, if these renders end up being true, it looks like we’re finally getting another higher-end smartwatch to replace the somewhat tragic Ionic.

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WinFuture says that the higher-end smartwatch will be called the Fitbit Sense. It... looks like the Versa, albeit with a more rounded “squircle” face and the same inductive buttons Fitbit introduced on the Charge 3. More interesting is the render that shows the back of the watch and its sensors. It seems the back now includes metal materials and a different sensor arrangement. It also shows the symbols for body temperature, GPS support, water resistance, and interestingly, a heart with a what looks like a heartbeat sine wave pattern. The new metal backing, the sine-wave pattern, and even the purported name Sense would seem to hint at ECG capability—but at this point, it’s just speculation.

Illustration for article titled Leaks Hint Fitbit Might Launch an ECG Smartwatch Soon... and Yet Another Versa
Image: Roland Quandt/WinFuture

For starters, it could just be that Fitbit is adding that capability as a means of futureproofing. A reminder: This is exactly what it did with the Ionic in 2017. At that time, Fitbit added SpO2 sensors to the watch but didn’t introduce a feature that really utilized those sensors until earlier this year. A big factor here with regard to ECG is whether it can get FDA clearance. Samsung also introduced ECG capability onto its Galaxy Watch Active2 last year, but it wasn’t until this year with the Galaxy Watch 3 launch that Samsung got the okay from the FDA. Even then, Samsung’s ECG app is not yet live in the U.S. Still, given that Samsung was able to get clearance, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Fitbit has also managed to get FDA clearance or is in the process of getting it.

Or, as WinFuture mentions, in the past Fitbit has used a heart symbol to denote continuous heart rate monitoring. So there could be no ECG at all. We’ll have to wait and see.

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Illustration for article titled Leaks Hint Fitbit Might Launch an ECG Smartwatch Soon... and Yet Another Versa
Image: Roland Quandt/WinFuture

Moving onto the Versa 3, well, it looks like a Versa smartwatch. The most I can say here is it appears that Fitbit’s doing away with the godawful pins to swap out the bands with an easier button mechanism. It also seems to have the same sensor arrangement as the Sense, but without the metal. The symbols also indicate a microphone—probably for voice assistants, as on the Versa 2—and GPS and water resistance. I’m not terribly sure what else Fitbit can add to the Versa line, other than built-in GPS (which it recently managed with the Charge 4) and maybe Google Assistant compatibility, given that Fitbit is in the process of being acquired by Google.

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In any case, the appearance of a Versa 3 would indicate that Fitbit is not yet done milking the popularity of its Versa line. The original Versa did gangbusters in sales due to its attractive price, decent feature set, and not-hideous design (again, the Ionic was a tragic smartwatch). Sales of last year’s Versa Lite Edition were disappointing, however, so we’ll have to see whether yet another iteration on the Versa line really catches anyone’s eye.

Illustration for article titled Leaks Hint Fitbit Might Launch an ECG Smartwatch Soon... and Yet Another Versa
Image: Roland Quandt/WinFuture
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Lastly, there’s the Inspire 2. It sure looks like another basic fitness tracker from Fitbit! It has a rounder shape? Based on these renders, that’s all we really got folks. Maybe the updates have more to do with the internal hardware upgrades, but we’d have to wait for Fitbit to officially launch the devices (or another leak with spec sheets) to find out.

In any case, we probably won’t have to wait too long to find out. For the past few years, Fitbit’s followed a regular Spring-Fall product launch cadence, with announcements for new products coming at the end of August or early September. It is almost the end of August, so... really, we should be getting the deets any day now.

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Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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DISCUSSION

icypalmtree
icypalmtree

This isn’t precisely on point for this article (other than that it’s related to the continued life of fitbit)but would it kill them to introduce a fucking “flip” setting so the watch can be rotated to be worn on either wrist? I wear my versa 2 on my right wrist and there are a non-zero set of times that bending my hand up pushes the button.

100% Symmetrical design, all this would take is software. Whyyyyyy?

OH, and maybe they could fix the damn music remote app to finally stay robustly connected to the phone. And show Album art. Like pebble did. In 2016....

Still love my versa 2, but the slowness of their dev on these rather basic features is intriguing.