Fitbit’s Developer Kit Helps Unlock a New Age of Digital Health

Personalization is key when it comes to wearables, and Fitbit knows all about custom offerings to suit someone’s style.

The smart fitness company recently launched their Fitbit SDK, a collection of tools meant to give users more access to apps they can use and create. Within the SDK, there is the Fitbit OS Developer Beta Firmware, the Fitbit Studio development environment, and a few guidelines to steer users towards creating their best work.

“This lays the foundation for both seasoned developers and hacking newbies to craft apps, clock faces, and rich experiences that will delight and improve the lives of the Fitbit community worldwide,” reads the Fitbit site.

The majority of this developer kit is built around Fitbit’s brand new offering released at the beginning of this month, the Fitbit Ionic. It is a smart watch built for different fitness levels, from the occasional walker to a marathon enthusiast. The Ionic is the first Fitbit offering to feature their brand new OS, and developers can design apps or watch faces for the device using the web-based Fitbit Studio.

“With the developer kit, we wanted to create a platform that makes it super easy for people to build apps. You can just go to the studio website and create a great experience,” said Lindsay Cook, VP of product marketing at Fitbit. “It allows people the customization they want.”

In order to access Fitbit Studio, all a user has to do is create a Fitbit login then head to the site. From there, they can begin to create and code whatever they want for their Ionic, through CSS, JavaScript and SVG.

Users must then download the developer preview firmware in order to see their creations on the Ionic. It is currently in beta and stability will continually improve, in addition to more features being added over time.

Fitbit is encouraging users to create whatever they can dream up, from apps based around improving scheduling to fun and quirky watch faces featuring their favorite designs and fonts. Developers will eventually be able to submit their creations to the Fitbit App Gallery and have a wider audience check out their work.

“When the wide range of apps are all available this fall, we will see the next generation of health tracking,” said Cook. “You have the easy accessibility to the apps everyone uses, but with the absolute best fitness experience possible.”

In terms of what apps are optimized for the Ionic, the mission was all about creating balance between fitness and the everyday. Fitbit wants to maintain their status as the leader in health and wellness wearables but at the same offer a product that people can use in their everyday life. This means a combination of Starbucks and music streaming apps, but at the same time, the ability to easily create an app to track the local charity’s 5k fun run.

There are even apps that gamify fitness as well, like an internally designed project that created a tamagotchi-like creature that was fed the more you worked out. Again, this is all in the name of keeping users active and letting them track and enjoy their time exercising.

A big part of the Fitbit SDK is personalization. Watches are as much a style choice as anything, so the need for unique watch faces and design elements is key. That’s why one of the easiest things to make through the developer kit is a customized watch front. Whether it be a watch in the style of the classic video game Goldeneye, or a simple minimalist block font, the Ionic will let a user match the watch to their personal aesthetic.

Fitbit’s goal is to lead the digital health and fitness world and the Ionic—along with its new OS and developer kit—allows the company to push the boundaries in the industry. With a little help from users, the app gallery should be fully populated soon, and the different ways to really make the most out of exercise will emerge.