It might be time for Google’s first smartwatch. The company has just entered into a $40 million agreement to buy smartwatch technology from Fossil Group.
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Fossil is one of the primary brands that continues to build smartwatches under Google’s Wear OS platform. The company has several hundred connected smartwatches, hybrids and fitness trackers under its belt. In fact, wearables are its fastest-growing category.
As part of the agreement, a part of Fossil’s 200 strong R&D team will join Google. More precisely, it will be the segment that is directly responsible for the intellectual property.
“Fossil Group has experienced significant success in its wearables business by focusing on product design and development informed by our strong understanding of consumers’ needs and style preferences,” said Greg McKelvey, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Fossil Group.
“We’ve built and advanced a technology that has the potential to improve upon our existing platform of smartwatches. Together with Google, our innovation partner, we’ll continue to unlock growth in wearables.”
The news suggests Google may really be making its own competitor to the Apple Watch, the much talked about Pixel Watch. Many were expecting the device to land last year but that didn’t happen. The timepiece is said to be entirely designed and manufactured by Google. Earlier, Google chose to partner with LG on its Watch Style and Watch Sport.
Rumours point to there being three variants of the device. They will have GPS, LTE and VoLTE support, along with health tracking sensors, the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, a sleek design and more.
Interestingly, Greg McKelvey said the $40 million deal will result in the launch of “a new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.” Apparently Fossil is working on some type of new health and wellness-focused technology and Google felt that it could bring it to market in a more expansive way. This way the mystery innovation would first hit Fossil watches, before expanding “across the industry over time to benefit all.”
Whether or not the deal will support on-going development of the rumoured Pixel Watch, or something else remains to be seen. Acquiring the technology could also be a chance for Google to boost WearOS adoption and become a more serious competitor to the Apple Watch. Fossil said the transaction is expected to close in January.
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