- Fitbit expects the Fitbit Sense ECG feature to receive clearance in the US and EU by the holidays.
- Itâ€™s not certain if the feature will be available soon afterward.
- These delays arenâ€™t uncommon for smartwatches.
Fitbit made a big deal of the ECG heart sensor in its Sense smartwatch, but when will you get to use it? Thankfully, you probably wonâ€™t need to wait too long.
Fitbitâ€™s devices VP Larry Yang told Wareable that the ECG was in the â€œfinal reviewâ€� process with the FDA and would receive clearance in both the US and the European Union â€œthis side of the holidays.â€� An additional spokesperson added that the company couldnâ€™t provide a specific date.
Fitbit Sense ECG: Why the delay?
This doesnâ€™t guarantee that ECG functionality will be available the moment Fitbit receives clearance. Fitbit will still need to deliver updates to switch on the feature. Still, this suggests that you wonâ€™t need to wait until 2021 to check for signs of possible heart irregularities like atrial fibrillation.
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While this could leave you waiting months for the functionality, that kind of delay is all too common for ECG functions on smartwatches. The Apple Watch Series 4â€™s ECG sensor wasnâ€™t usable in the US until December 2018, months after launch. It took even longer still to reach other countries. The Galaxy Watch 3â€™s sensor has cleared the FDA but still hasnâ€™t been activated in the US. And, as Wareable notes, Withings has struggled to get ECG approval for devices like the ScanWatch despite months of waiting.
Clearances can take a long time due to the very nature of testing. Even a minor change mid-development might require a new clinical study, making it difficult to predict exactly when officials will approve medical tech. Thatâ€™s important for an ECG sensor that could prompt a trip to the doctor, but it can be frustrating if youâ€™re eager to use every last feature of your watch.