The Fitbit Ionic's first major update adds new apps and watchfaces

Fitbit unleashes Ionic apps

Fitbit knew it would be launching an app ecosystem from scratch, and Pebble's team had the development tools to make porting an app to its new smartwatch OS a much easier task. A variety of different apps are included here, such as The New York Times, Uber, and Yelp. Some of those apps (like The New York Times, Yelp, and Hue Lights) will be available starting today, but the majority are slated as coming "before the end of the year" or in January. Now, with the Ionic's first software update, many of those issues will be fixed.

Most of the apps are activity-focused, as is appropriate for a gadget now being billed in an aggressive ad campaign as a smartwatch built specifically for fitness.

Along with these official Fitbit apps and watchfaces, the company is adding a new spread of curated user-created apps to the Ionic, some of which the company is previewing here.

More than 100 clock faces to customize the look and feel of Ionic plus at-a-glance access to information like active minutes, heart rate, games, goal progress and more. The only program available at launch will be a "Pet" clock face that gives users a virtual companion to care for with their step achievements, while other apps like a Mood Log, sport-specific tennis support, and more activity incentive games are expected before the end of the year.

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For me, the most exciting improvement in this update is faster touch interactions in Fitbit OS.

Fitbit (fit) pioneered the market for smart wearable devices like its popular fitness trackers, but sales have fallen sharply over the past year as consumers have gravitated to smartwatches that do more things.

Here's the changelog for the new update.

This update also brings the ability to keep up with friends with the Fitbit Leaderboard on the Ionic, and allows you to choose which credit or debit card to pay with via Fitbit Pay, right from your wrist. Fitbit's shares have gained 18% since the day before it debuted the new watch in August, though they are still off about 67% since the company's initial public offering two years ago.

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