Fitness wearables company Fitbit didn’t announce any new products at CES 2017, and we didn’t expect it to. However, just days after the show ended, news of a new acquisition has come out. Fitbit has purchased the European smartwatch startup Vector, which already has two devices in the luxury connected watches market. Both watches boast 30-day battery lives. A message on Vector’s website confirms the acquisition but does not disclose how much Fitbit paid for the startup. Vector CEO Andrei Pitis also confirmed the news to TechCrunch and said Fitbit is acquiring the company for its “software platform and design team.”
“We believe this is an important milestone as a moment when we will start building other new and amazing products, features, and experiences, incorporating our unique technology and knowhow with Fitbit’s experience and global community,” the Vector team wrote on its website.
Vector came onto the scene in 2015 with its Luna and Meridian smartwatches that are compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Both watches have similar features: activity tracking, onboard apps, their own OS with discrete notifications and “streams” (or visuals of cherry-picked information from social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook), and an impressive 30-day battery life.
Both the Luna and Meridian come with high price tags, though, with the circular-faced Luna priced between €349 ($426) and €549 ($670) (depending on materials used) and the rectangular-faced Meridian priced at €299 ($365). According to Vector’s website, both of its smartwatches will continue to work normally, but no new software or hardware features will be added in the future. Vector will still provide a two-year warranty on all of its devices, and the company will continue to offer support through its Help page and email@example.com.
Fitbit hasn’t officially announced that it is creating a smartwatch, but with this acquisition and Fitbit’s recent buyout of Pebble, we can safely assume the company is working on something. Both Pebble and Vector have interesting and very different approaches to smartwatch operating systems than Fitbit does (the only OS Fitbit has is the makeshift system on its Blaze tracker), and it’s possible that Fitbit is trying to glean how to best create a wearable OS that can compete with Apple’s WatchOS and Google’s Android Wear. Fitbit is likely also going to use Vector’s design team to make any device it comes out with as watch-like as possible, which would be a change from its current wristband trackers.