OPINION: Between Apple announcing its September event and Twitter revamping the Spaces tab, it’s been a busy news cycle for sure but which headlines have made the cut in this week’s Winners and Losers?
Earlier this month we were treated to the news that after nearly two years on the market, the Meta Quest 2 would be receiving a £100 price hike to counteract losses in Facebook’s VR division. While at the time I wrote this off as an anomaly, it now seems that price hikes will continue to be a part of everyday life for the foreseeable future with companies like Lego and Sony now deciding to increase costs on their own products.
As a bit of good news to counteract all of these economic woes, Fitbit announced its new line-up of wearables for the 2022 season, and while the updated range brings in several unique features like continuous stress tracking and improved detection of atrial fibrillation, there was only one thing that caught my eye: the addition of Google apps.
When unveiling the Pixel Watch earlier this year, Google was keen to point out that it would be incorporating some of Fitbit’s expertise and fitness tracking software into the device itself. This makes sense of course – Google Fit has never been groundbreaking in this regard and now it seems that Google is finally starting to reap the benefits of its acquisition of Fitbit. It did leave me wondering however if we’d see some of Google’s tech make its way over to Fitbit’s devices.
Luckily for me (and any other Fitbit fans), that concept didn’t appear to exist in a vacuum as Fitbit unveiled that Google Wallet and Google Maps would soon be coming to its upcoming wearables: the Fitbit Sense 2 and the Fitbit Versa 4.
This is a huge boon because in spite of their expertise in the realm of fitness, Fitbit’s wearables have been atrocious at putting the ‘smart’ in smartwatch. A decaying app store has only been made worse by the fact that Fitbit’s own apps, like Fitbit Pay, are a mess.
At present, there are only nine banks that support Fitbit Pay in the UK and as a result, I’ve always had to refer back to my phone or a trusty old debit card when using a Fitbit as my main fitness tracker. Having Google Wallet on board will fix that completely, with Google Maps being the cherry on top to finally bring Fitbit’s wearables up to speed with the competition.
Whether you’re looking at the climate, the economy or even geopolitical events, the world is in a bit of a mess right now. Consumers are already starting to feel the brunt of these affairs and unfortunately, it seems as though we’re in for a swathe of products introducing higher price tags to deal with the fallout.
Meta kicked this trend off by adding £100 to the cost of the Quest 2 headset and earlier this week Sony ruined everyone’s morning coffee by introducing an immediate price hike on both the disc-based and digital edition PS5 consoles, jumping to £479.99 and £389.99 respectively.
Seeing that kind of increase at any time is bad enough, but for the PS5 – which is still tough to buy thanks to dwindling stock – is especially damning. Throughout this generation, gamers have had to endure waiting lists and ‘purchase by invitation’ initiatives just to be in with the chance of getting their hands on a PS5, but to have an extra barrier to entry is just going to make it too difficult for some gamers to finally make the jump to next-gen.
Trusted Reviews’ Computing and Gaming Editor, Ryan Jones, wrote a particularly scathing op-ed this week about the PS5 being a flop thus far, and against the far more affordable option of an Xbox Series S which has tons of titles available to play right now via Game Pass, things aren’t looking too good in camp Sony’s camp right now.