The Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has seen its exhibitors reveal a bevy of new devices and announce a fair amount of news, and Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) was no exception. One of the wearable leader's more intriguing announcements involved its plans for a crafting a more "engaging social experience" around its devices via its new Community site, which includes of a host of new apps.
As if Fitbit's community feature wasn't enough to spark talk of a smartwatch, according to founder and CEO James Park, the company plans to launch a full-fledged app store in the near future. Park said the recently acquired assets of smartwatch manufacturer Pebble will play a big role in that effort.
The key, according to Park, will be to build the infrastructure and provide support for an app store, neither of which are currently in place.
The rumors of a Fitbit smartwatch gained steam even before the deal with Pebble was announced, when Park said Fitbit would develop "different form factors" this year. But as Apple learned in 2016's third quarter, the market for smartwatches simply isn't where it needs to be -- yet.
Though Fitbit shipped a record 5.3 million units in last year's third quarter, up 11% year over year, the iEverything maker's Watch shipments nosedived from 3.9 million to 1.1 million. For too many consumers, there simply wasn't enough useful difference between a full-feature smartwatch and a fitness tracker to warrant the additional expense. That's a challenge Fitbit will need to address if it does toss its hat in the ring.
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