With the smartwatch and fitness tracker market continuing to grow, eyes are turning towards the prospect of a Fitbit Charge 6.
Wearables are constantly being improved with new features and more accurate technology, which means existing products can rapidly become superseded by new and better competitors.
Given the competitive market, no company can afford to stand still, which is why everyone is expecting the Charge 6. But what's the current state of play?
Fitbit Charge 6 Predicted Release Date
The Charge 5 was released in August 2021, so we aren't expecting anything in the immediate future. But we can look at historic release cycles from Fitbit to perhaps get an indication of when we may expect the Charge 6.
If we look back through the release dates of the previous charge models, we can start to see a bit of a pattern:
- Fitbit Charge – October 2014
- Fitbit Charge HR – January 2015
- Fitbit Charge 2 – September 2016
- Fitbit Charge 3 – October 2018
- Fitbit Charge 4 – March 2020
- Fitbit Charge 5 – August 2021
There is typically a gap of around 18 months between releases, with a slightly longer gap between the Charge 2 and Charge 3. But if we work on the basis that 18 months will be the minimum timescale between the Charge 5 and the Charge 6, then we are probably looking at April 2023 at the earliest so we might have a long wait ahead.
We also have to consider the fact that Google is now the owner of Fitbit. It's uncertain how this might influence the Fitbit brand, but it may mean more focus is placed on the Pixel Watch, meaning Charge releases might happen less frequently. On the other hand, Fitbit may continue as they always have. We simply don't know at this point.
Fitbit Charge 6 Price
Given we are still a long way away from a likely release date, it means there is nothing concrete about pricing. But the Charge 5 sold for around $180/£170 at launch and the Charge 4, for comparison, was around $150/£130.
We'd probably anticipate the Charge 6 being in a similar ballpark to the Charge 5. But we wouldn't be too surprised if there was a similar price increase as there was between the 4 and 5 models. After all, inflation means that prices almost inevitably rise, and there are still potential component shortages to consider.
If microchips and other components remain hard to come by when the Fitbit Charge 6 enters production, then the increased manufacturing costs will almost certainly be reflected in the retail price.
Features We'd Like To See
When it comes to features, the Charge 5 was a leading product when it was released. According to a report from 9to5Google, a source has leaked information stating that the Charge 6 will look almost identical to the Charge 5.
But inevitably, newer devices will continue to bring new features, and there are always ways that a device might be improved.
Apart from its rumoured appearance, nothing else has been leaked so far; the only confirmed info we have is about the new line of accessories available for each of the autumn release watches, but here are some of the features we'd most hope to see.
Better Battery Life
One of the single biggest issues with almost any wearable is how often they need to be charged. An Apple Watch typically needs charging daily, while the Fitbit Charge 5 claims to have a battery life of up to 7 days. This is better than many, but we'd always like to see improvements in efficiency.
A Better Display
The Charge 5 has a very respectable OLED display and considering it's been leaked that the Charge 6 will look almost the same, we can assume the appearance of the display won't change too much.
But, a redesigned Charge 6 could at least offer a touchscreen responding more accurately to inputs. And if it can do this without compromising battery performance, so much the better.
While the Charge 5 offers a great range of health features, there are some notable omissions that are available in other Fitbit products. Things like stress notifications, snore and noise detection and guided breathing sessions would be nice to have.
But there are other features that are starting to be talked about with other smartwatches, that we'd love to see on the Charge 6. Blood pressure monitoring is getting a lot of attention, and given the impact that high blood pressure can have on health, it's easy to see why.
While Fitbit pay is a thing, it's nowhere near as easy to use as Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. And frankly, there doesn't really seem to be a need for it to exist anymore.
Swap Fitbit Pay for Google Pay, which should be very simple now that Goole owns Fitbit, and make everyone's life a bit easier.
A source-code leak suggested that the Sense 2 and Versa 4 would be compatible with Google Wallet, and now that they've been launched, we can confirm that as true, which suggests that the Charge 6 will be getting this convenient bit of tech too.
And finally, the Fitbit Charge 6 would really benefit from better third-party app integration. While plenty of popular services do work with Fitbit, there is still no integration with Google Fit, for example. And other apps, even though they do work, are clunky and unintuitive. Strava is a good example of this.
Giving people the best possible experience, no matter what apps they want to use, would be a great step forward. We won't be holding our breath for integration with Apple Health, but there really isn't much excuse not to sync with Google Fit.
There's plenty of potential for Fitbit to improve upon the already excellent Charge 5. And we'll be sure to keep you informed, as we learn more about what they plan to offer with the Fitbit Charge 6.