Last November Google parent Alphabet announced that it was buying Fitbit for $2.1 billion
in a deal that has yet to receive regulatory approval. The Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch is equipped with support for Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant. While the timepiece does have a microphone, it cannot open Alexa by saying a hotword. And while it can tell you the weather, help control smart devices in the home, or set timers, the lack of a speaker on the Versa 2 means that you’ll have to read Alexa’s responses from the Versa 2 display.
Google could include Google Assistant integration on the Fitbit Versa 2
According to a report published in the U.K. after Google announced the deal to buy Fitbit, the latter had approached Google
about allowing the Versa 2 smartwatch to run the ubiquitous Google Assistant
. The report stated that Google was “less willing than Amazon to make this happen.” But 9to5Google notes
that the gang in Mountain View might have had a change in mind. Strings of code found in the Fitbit for Android app describe a way to “Activate (Google) Assistant” for the timepiece that is similar to how Alexa is set up on the Versa 2. Another string of code says, “You can only have one active assistant at a time and you can always switch to another provider.” That would seem to indicate that even with Google Assistant onboard, Alexa won’t go away even though only one assistant can be used at a time.
Will Google add Assistant integration to the Fitbit 2?
Google could add Assistant integration to the Versa 2 to mark the closing of the acquisition. Currently, the Versa 2 is more closely in line with non-Google services. For example, an Alexa Skill on the Versa 2 allows users of the timepiece to ask for their latest stats by voice. And the smartwatch has a Spotify app that competes with Google’s YouTube Music while Fitbit Pay competes with mobile payment service Google Pay.
Even if Google Assistant does become available on the Fitbit Versa 2, it isn’t likely that users will sport too many different capabilities. It will mark a major departure for Google however since Assistant has never been found on a non-Wear OS smartwatch. The more important question though is will this be the year when Google finally launches a Pixel
smartwatch? In 2019 the company bought intellectual property from smartwatch company Fossil for $40 million that Google initially gushed over. But the transaction did not lead Google to launch a Pixel Watch and as it turned out, Google made the purchase so that 20 Fossil engineers would join the Wear OS team
. The IP Google bought was related to hybrid smartwatch
technology. A hybrid smartwatch looks like a traditional wristwatch with the capabilities of a smartwatch. The new technology that Google purchased is called “Diana” for the combination of Digital and Analog.
In January 2019, Google filed a patent
that would allow a user to control his Pixel Watch through the use of hand gestures and an optical sensor that would be embedded on the Pixel Watch’s body. This would most likely be controlled by the Soli radar chip that Google uses on the Pixel 4
series for its Motion
Sense feature. If tradition holds, Google would be expected to introduce a Pixel Watch in October along with the Pixel 5
. While we have seen alleged renders of the Pixel 5 along with rumored specs, there have been no leaked renders of any sort related to a Pixel Watch.