Fitbit wants to launch its own wearable app store “as soon as possible,” the company’s co-founder and CEO James Park said in an interview at CES earlier today.
The new app store would be built using some of the assets Fitbit acquired from Pebble when it bought the struggling wearable startup last month. In its five years of existence Pebble amassed around 14,000 third-party apps in its store, and Park said Pebble had “worked out a lot of the kinks” that go into building an app store.
Park noted that an app store would be especially helpful as Fitbit tries to extend its relationships with employers and health care companies that are using Fitbits for corporate wellness programs. Earlier this week, Fitbit said that it was partnering with UnitedHealthCare and Qualcomm to offer $1500 annual incentives to Charge 2 wearers.
“There are so many different applications [our partners] want to write,” Park said, “from fitness-related ones to pill reminder applications. And we don’t have the support in place for that right now, or any software infrastructure on our devices to run those apps.”
Of course, this also means that Fitbit is almost definitely, undoubtedly, hit-us-over-the-head-with-it-why-don’t-you, making a real smartwatch. Park has said in recent months that the company is exploring new form factors this year. Fitbit also bought Coin last year with the intention of building payment capabilities into its wearables, and then it bought Pebble. The Fitbit Blaze, which was announce at CES last year, came close to being a smartwatch in terms of its design, but was marketed as a smart fitness watch and didn’t support third party apps.
Park wouldn’t say exactly when the app store will launch, just that it would be “as soon as possible.” He also said there are wearable apps he personally wants to develop for Fitbit in his free time, because tech company CEO’s do love to spend their nonexistent free time doing more work.
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