Fitbit's smartwatch finally gets its first update

Fitbit unleashes Ionic apps

Improved performance - Fitbit's updated touchscreen performance of the Ionic so it's faster and more fluid to use.

The first true smartwatch from Fitbit premiered in October, but it included only a handful of third-party apps. Now you'll be able to find nearby restaurants with Yelp, control your smart home devices with Nest and Philips Hue Lights, get the latest news from Flipboard and The New York Times, and even summon an Uber, all from your wrist.

The expanded apps and watch faces will be a nice addition. There's Deezer music integration in this update as well, but it won't be fully operational until 2018. More territories and banks are expected to be included next year.

Now CEO James Park is strongly pursuing upmarket customers with the $300 Ionic. Fitbit hasn't released sales figures for its new watch, but market tracking firm IDC said it was off to an "encouraging" start in the third quarter. Throughout my time with the Fitbit Ionic, I've found Fitbit OS to be too laggy, nearly to the point where I don't want to wear the watch at all.

The Fitbit Ionic earned an "excellent" rating in PCMag's review. 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. "Its biggest flaw is that it is not, in any meaningful way, an interactive smartwatch", the review noted.

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Following this update, the platform will offer more than 100 clock faces and 60 apps, Fitbit said.

The Fitbit Ionic launched back in September this year and for music lovers it offers 2.5GB of storage onboard for you to upload and play your own tracks (or music with Pandora in the US) without having to carry your phone.

Other new features include enhanced options for Fitbit Pay and the Fitbit Leaderboard directly on the Ionic watch. Fitbit is a big enough player in the health and fitness game to make it work, but it'll have to continue to develop and expand Fitbit OS and its Ionic lineup.

Some of the new apps and clock faces were designed by Fitbit's Labs unit that uses data from the company's R&D department to create more compelling features.

Bolstering all of this is the introduction of Fitbit Labs, an initiative from Fitbit's research team that will build out unique, experimental clock faces and apps for Ionic.