CES 2017 proved to be one busy tech show, with a number of gadgets internationally being showcased to win over consumer wallets later this year (whether or not all those devices launch is a matter of sweat and perseverance). Along with announcements by companies wanting to introduce smartwatches running Android Wear this year, some companies have expressed desires about future goals that aren't yet fully realized. Fitbit is one of these companies.
We knew that the Pebble acquisition wasn't without purpose (who spends up to $40 million on a company having fallen on hard times to just sit on the company and leave it at that?), but Fitbit CEO James Park gives even more insight behind why acquiring Pebble was a smart move. In short, Fitbit wants to eventually produce new apps not available currently on a developer-friendly platform:
There are so many different applications [our partners] want to write...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.
Park said, in short, that Fitbit desires to create a developer-friendly platform where apps can be written and build a software infrastructure that proves encouraging to developers. In short, to support third-party apps, you must have a platform in place -- and Fitbit doesn't have that right now. Fitbit doesn't have an OS capable of handling these apps and the company's forward-thinking desires.
Fitbit's acquisition of Pebble is the start to realizing its dreams, but purchasing mobile payments company Coin was one of the most deliberate acquisitions Fitbit has made yet. No company purchases a mobile payments system if it doesn't intend to launch a platform with greater capabilities. Fitbit wants to put its Coin purchase to good use, and the work Pebble has done to build its own app store, among other things, means that Fitbit's acquisition has intentions for the future state of the company and its mobile devices.
Fitbit has aspirations to provide its own OS, similar to Apple with its WatchOS, Samsung with its Tizen OS, and Google with Android Wear. Whether or not Fitbit ever achieves that goal is a matter of wait-and-see, but it's obvious that, in the future, your Fitbit device will do more than it is doing currently.