Fitbit Charge 6 may finally be coming, and I love the list of improvements

 White Fitbit Charge 5.
White Fitbit Charge 5.

Google is holding an event on October 4 to announce its slate of new products. Alongside its upcoming Google Pixel 8 phones and Pixel Watch 2 smartwatch, we’re expecting to see at least one new Fitbit fitness tracker unveiled on the big day.

All rumors point towards the new Fitbit being the long-awaited Fitbit Charge 6. The Fitbit Charge line is the best Fitbit in a traditional sense, in that it’s the best band-shaped fitness tracker. It’s able to track your runs and rides more accurately with GPS and features a big (well, big for a band-shaped tracker anyway) full-color AMOLED display.

Fitbit’s other bands are the Inspire (its cheapest line with a simple display and no GPS) and the Luxe (its mid-ranged fashionable offering with swappable jewellery-inspired bands), with its Fitbit Versa 4 and Fitbit Sense 2 smartwatches filling out the rest of the range. We have believed a Fitbit Charge 6 would be coming for a while, but 9to5Google has reportedly spoken to insider sources ‘familiar with the matter’ who stated a Charge 6 will arrive during Google’s big October event.

The sources also share several juicy rumors about the Charge 6’s new features. For starters, it’s said the Charge 6 will get a physical button. The Fitbit Charge 3 and 4 featured a haptic feedback ‘button’ indent, but the Fitbit Charge 5 went buttonless with an all-touch-screen interface. It’s likely the physical button will be similar to the single rectangular ones on the Sense 2 and Versa 4 smartwatches.

From a software point of view, Fitbit Charge 6 will reportedly get Google Maps, adding to its GPS credentials, along with YouTube Music. It makes sense to keep everything Google, but I’m interested in the new freedom this could give Fitbit users if they want to go for a run without their phones, notably listening to your workout playlist from your tracker and getting turn-by-turn in-ear navigation prompts.

Analysis: Is Fitbit back from the dead?

Fitbit haptic button
Fitbit haptic button

I’ve long wanted audio navigation prompts from competitors such as Garmin, which allows you to create a course but frustratingly, you have to check the map on your watch if you feel like you’re about to make a wrong turn. To have that capacity folded into the Fitbit Charge 6, using Google Maps as a base, immediately makes it a go-to option if, like me, you love coming up with and exploring new circular routes to run and cycle around cities and trails.

After the absolute battering we’ve been giving Fitbit over the last year or so, from the lackluster launch of the Versa 4 and Sense 2 to Google’s slashing of its Groups and Challenge features, I didn’t think I’d ever get excited about a new Fitbit release again. However, I’m officially looking forward to the Fitbit Charge 6, and if these rumors are true, I’ll be very excited to put it to the test.

However, Google’s recent data leak scandal might put a bit of a dampener on things. It’s currently being sued by a European privacy non-profit over mishandling sensitive health data – here’s an interactive timeline of Google and Fitbit’s data woes.

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